Cardiff Blues have warmed up for their league campaign with mixed pre-season fortunes. Following an impressive victory over Worcester they slumped to a disappointing 20-3 defeat at the hands of Bristol on Friday night but their former Welsh skipper, Lions flanker MartynWilliams is confident they are heading in the right direction.
"Obviously we played a lot better in one game than in the other but the main thing is to give everyone some game time," he said. "I think it was Bristol's fourth game whilst some of our boys were making their first start, which is perhaps why a few things didn't go as planned.
"The big plus is that we have avoided injuries and the coaches will be selecting from a full squad."
The start of a new season inevitably brings promises of making a good start but Williams genuinely believes the Blues can make it come true this year.
"I think our squad is stronger than it's ever been and we have been working hard to improve consistency," he said.
"We want to be in the mix for the title and winning games at the back end of the season that really count.
"We did well towards the end of last year but by then our season was already gone."
And when asked where to look for potential rivals for the league title, the Blues man is quick to look across the Irish Sea.
"You have to look at Munster and Leinster obviously," he said. "They have big squads, full of quality and are always tough to beat in any competition."
The Blues begin their campaign against Munster at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night, a fixture which pleases Williams.
"It's always ideal to begin at home," he said. "Munster will be without their internationals but you don't win a Heineken Cup without having a very strong squad so it won't be easy. It's the just the type of game you want first up though."
And after a full pre-season of training Williams, official Six Nations player of the tournament when Wales bagged their Grand Slam, is eager for some action.
"It was good to have a summer off and, after 10 weeks of conditioning, I'm feeling fit and fresh. There is only so much training you can do and I just can't wait to play now," said Williams.
He was speaking as the Blues announced a lucrative sponsorship deal with Coors Brewers and Worthington's.
Blues chief executive Robert Norster said he was "delighted" at the deal forged with the sponsors, both of whom play a vital role in the support of rugby at all levels within Wales.