Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees says there is a real sense of optimism flowing through the team after a good pre-season ahead of the PRO12.
The 32-year-old, who arrived from the Scarlets for 2013/14, believes that a new coaching team and synthetic playing surface is helping him settle.
Despite the loss of Jamie Roberts to Racing, the return from Lions duty of Sam Warburton, Alex Cuthbert and Leigh Halfpenny, also lifts them.
"I'm settling in great, really enjoying it. I'm just ready for the season to get underway now," Rees explained to rabodirectpro12.com.
"It's just a change of scenery and group of players and coaching staff. I worked with Phil [Davies] a couple of years ago with Scarlets and it's all good at the moment.
"I know the majority of the boys. I'm quite comfortable and it's easier when you've got a strong group of players and leaders. It makes my job easier and you can use them as well.
"The front row is definitely looking strong. The likes of Gethin will come back, there's Scott Andrews and we've got some good young boys coming through like Sam Hobbs and Tom Davies.
"These guys have been really good in pre-season games and they'll have an opportunity to play. From a front row's perspective we're looking really strong.
"Jamie was an outstanding player. Unfortunately for him he got a lot of injuries last year so he didn't really play much for the Blues.
"Again there's some good talent coming through in Cory Allen and Owen Williams who had an opportunity last year and took it and produced some good performances.
"Hopefully they'll kick on to a new level and they'll come through and fill the boots of Jamie."