Cuthbert has no fears over 'second season syndrome'
Wales star Alex Cuthbert insists he has no fears of falling to second season syndrome.
The Cardiff Blues wing enjoyed a meteoric rise last year and went from being an academy starlet to a vital member of the Grand Slam squad.
Opponents are likely to keep a much closer eye on Cuthbert this season but he is relishing the new season and is determined to improve his game.
"I don't believe in that at all," said Cuthbert.
"I'll just keep doing the same things I did last season.
"I need to improve my all-round game and international rugby is still new to me, I'm still a youngster. I need a bit more experience and I have loads to learn.
"I take nothing for granted, I just want to train hard and play well. I know there are plenty of others who want the shirt I am in at the moment, so I need a good start to the season."
Following a month's break from rugby after returning from Australia, Cuthbert is now well into his pre-season preparations with the Blues,
He is still disappointed with the 3-0 whitewash Wales conceded at the hands of the Wallabies but reckons they will learn from the experience.
"The summer tour was totally different to the Six Nations," said Cuthbert.
"The first game didn't go our way and we were unlucky to miss out in the second one.
"But I think the experience will do us good in the long term. It was a shame we didn't get a win but we have the autumn Tests coming up.
"We have no excuses for what happened on the tour though. We just took too long to adjust to what was needed."
But Cuthbert's immediate focus is with the Blues. He had been linked with lucrative moves abroad but penned a one-year deal in the capital
The Gloucester-born ace is convinced he made the right decision and has been enthused by the new regime under Phil Davies.
"It was a bit of a long process last season but I was glad to get it sorted and I'm looking forward to the new campaign," added Cuthbert.
"I'm just focusing on getting pre-season out of the way, I just want to be as fit as possible.
"A lot of things at the Blues have changed for the better and hopefully the hard work we have been getting through in the last few weeks is going to pay off.
"I would say it's a more professional set-up.
"Phil is a great coach, he's been at a number of clubs, and has brought his influence in and the boys have responded.
"Training is going well, we've got some new structures and probably a new culture as well.
"A lot of teams worked us out (last season) but I think we will have a few more plans this season, we'll be harder to work out and we'll be fitter. That will help us a lot at the end of the season when we tailed off last year.
"We have a young squad though and a lot of lads who want to make their mark this season.
"We have the hunger with people pushing for places, Harry Robinson is pushing me for example, and that keeps us all on our toes."
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Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.