Cardiff Blues are now into their third week of pre-season after a change in their off-season schedule this year, with all of the regular squad and the majority of the internationals back at The Vale Resort in preparation for the 2017/18 campaign.
A new approach to summer training saw those players not on a summer tour come in for two weeks fitness work in June before resuming their rest period, resulting in a later start to regular pre-season but allowing the squad as a whole to stay at a similar stage in their training plan, rather than being disrupted by internationals coming back in dribs and drabs.
It’s been an encouraging start to pre-season as well, with no players reporting back with any serious injury concerns, a far cry from the 18 players that were crowding the treatment room during the December of last season.
Three of the most seriously injured players from 2016/17 have all returned to training from the get go with Josh Turnbull (back), Lewis Jones (knee) and Dan Fish (hamstring) all taking a full part in pre-season.
Loosehead prop Brad Thyer is also involved in training again but being monitored closely after a serious concussion picked up against Glasgow in January ended his season prematurely, while South African lock George Earle has recovered from another recurrence of his ankle injury.
Wing duo Tom James and Alex Cuthbert are also returning to full fitness after the second half of last season was disrupted by James with illness, and Cuthbert picked up a shoulder injury to curtail his involvement with Wales over the summer.
It’s not all plain sailing for Danny Wilson though, with some injury concerns still lingering.
Gethin Jenkins is still on the road to recovery from knee surgery that kept him out of the end of last season and both Wales and the Lions summer tour, while Blaine Scully has yet to resume training following a nasty elbow dislocation picked up against Ulster.
The American’s back three colleague Rhun Williams is also still in the treatment room as the youngster attempts to overcome the injury that cost him a chance at winning his first Wales cap this summer.
Wilson will also be looking forward to the return of Sam Warburton and Rey Lee-Lo after extended summer breaks following long summers of international rugby, with both players set to report at The Vale injury free.
An almost clean bill of health for the Cardiff Blues medical staff, who will desperately be hoping not to repeat last year’s injury crisis ahead of the new season.