Our first match back at Cardiff Arms Park last Friday was incredible. It’s the first time I’ve experienced anything like it – it was so loud and there was such a great atmosphere. You could tell everyone had enjoyed a few beers and were having a good time, and the crowd is so much closer to the pitch than usual.
With 8,000 people there, the noise is unbelievable. You can just about hear the calls, but I had to guess once or twice and just go for it – most of the time we know what we are doing anyway, but it’s not easy to hear your teammates over all the singing!
On the other hand, you could hear a pin drop when Edinburgh scored, and it was a frustrating defeat. One of our main objectives this season is to make the Arms Park a fortress, and that was why it was disappointing to lose to a drop goal in the dying minutes. We’ll take the positives from that game though, and make sure when people come here, they know it’s going to be really hard work. Credit to Edinburgh for fighting it out and taking the win, but we should have put the game to bed earlier to be honest.
It was my first competitive game of the season, and it was good to put in a solid performance personally. Some people have been talking about ‘second season syndrome’ and not expecting me to do as well as last year, but I’m just going to play my own game. The pressure that comes with it makes me a better player, and I just like going out, playing well and putting a marker down for the season.
A lot of people seem to have fairly low expectations of us, but as a group we know we can do well – the boys have worked really hard since preseason started on 11th June (which is ages ago!) and with the calibre of players we have, we know we can perform. We should be a hard team to beat this season, and being at the Arms Park will help that.
If I can keep on playing well for Cardiff, that will hopefully get me picked for Wales in the Autumn, and I’m not looking beyond that. We have four tough games in four weeks, which will be hard, but that’s what we want. If selected, I’ll be really up for that.
Everyone keeps asking about the Lions, but as players, we’re trying not to think about it to be honest. It’s such a long time away, and you just never know what might happen in rugby with injuries and other players coming through – it’s nice to be talked about, and you get asked about it a lot, but you get used to batting away the questions to be honest.
It’s only my second season as a professional player and I’ve still got so much to learn. My sights are just set on playing the Dragons this weekend, and then Treviso the week after.
By Alex Cuthbert
Follow Alex on twitter on @acuthbert11
Tickets for the Cardiff Blues v Benetton Treviso match on Saturday 22 September 6.30pm kick off are available by calling 029 2030 2030.