With a club legend in their corner and competing on home turf, Cardiff Blues look well-placed ahead of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s but Tom Shanklin insists his charges face a tough test to better last year’s feats.
The former Welsh international is taking on coaching duties for his former side as they host the Group A event at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday August 15 against fellow Welsh regions Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s is the only competition this season where you will see the 12 Premiership Rugby clubs taking on the four Welsh Regions.
And the Blues will be looking to feature strongly again, topping their group last year before heading to the Series Final at the Stoop.
There they defeated Leicester Tigers in the quarter-finals before falling to eventual champions Gloucester Rugby at the semi-final stage.
And while Shanklin admits a run to the final is a clear ambition for his side, the 7s coach is mindful of needing to entertain a home crowd with a blend of youthful and experienced talents.
“I don't think last year will reflect this season,” he said. “Certainly for young players coming through to get to that level last year can push them a little bit further.
“It is a very good standard and when some of the young players realise they can compete with top players it is great for them.
“I would love to see not just development players playing but some of the first team players as well to get everyone really excited by it.
“It's a cross-border competition so there is going to be that rivalry which everyone loves and there is going to be a rivalry among the regions as well so there is a lot of bragging rights.
“I think from our point of view we would like to put on a good show here. It would be nice to go that step further and win it but who knows what is going to happen.”
Twelve months before rugby returns to the Olympics – in Rio – Premiership Rugby continues to lead the way when it comes to club 7s.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will be an important competition and will start a run-in to the Olympic Games when rugby will be firmly in the world spotlight.
And Shanklin insists there is no better place to showcase the 7s game than in the rugby-mad Welsh capital.
“I think it's great that it's in the middle of Cardiff for a start because the Millennium Stadium is probably one of the best in the world and BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park is attached to the side so it's easy access for people,” he added.
“The pitch is fantastic and is tailor-made for events like 7s because there is a lot of rugby played on it and with the weather we get in Cardiff it isn't going to cut up at all.
“It's great for the city in general to have a big 7s competition like this – we don't have a proper top flight sevens competition in Wales, we have the Premiership 7s.
“You are going to get fast and exciting games with plenty of tries and people will want to make a day of it and come and see some 7s.”