Tom Habberfield believes the Celtic Cup offers a platform for the Indigo Group Premiership stars who have an ambition to play at the highest level.
The experienced scrum half has been named Cardiff Blues A co-captain, alongside centre Sam Beard, for Saturday’s opening clash against defending champions, Leinster A at Cardiff Arms Park.
Habberfield left Ospreys during the summer, bringing an end to his time with his home region following more than a decade of service, and subsequently signed with Cardiff RFC.
The former Wales under-20 international is under no illusion about the challenge ahead in the opening clash and insists the players must be on the money in order to make a mark and kick off the campaign on a good note.
Habberfield said: “I think we’ll definitely have a decent team, and Leinster are training full-time and will no doubt be a good outfit.
“But we’ve got the best players in the Premiership playing, and it’s a massive opportunity for a lot of players.
“I’m really excited myself and hopefully we can get stuck into this league from the off. It’s a tough start to the campaign with Leinster, as they’re always a great side.
“In this squad, everyone has an ambition to play at the highest level, and these are the type of games you need to perform in to get the opportunities to do that.
“Everyone is excited to play and hopefully we can get a decent crowd here to get the season off to a good start.
“Gethin [Jenkins] and TRT have set their stalls out from the start and they’re extremely professional people.
“As coaches, they’re asking for quality and we need to deliver. For a lot of boys stepping up, this it the next level. If you’re not up to that standard, you’ll stand out.
“It’s a great opportunity, but the quality has to be there. If it is, it’s going to be a great campaign.
“You have a chance to show individual ability. We haven’t trained with each other that much so it’s important that the boys don’t hold back and express themselves. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone know what they’re good at and that’s what they should do out on the pitch.”
Following more than 135 senior appearances for his home region, Habberfield made the move to join Steve Law’s side, and has also started a full time role as Teaching Assistant at Tonyrefail Community School.
After a decade of facing Cardiff Blues as opponents, the scrum-half admits it will be strange feeling to call the Arms Park home, but insists he is both proud and excited to pull on Wales’ Capital Region’s jersey.
“It’s been a strange few months for me, personally. This is something completely different for me but something that I’m really excited about,” said Habberfield.
“I’ll be really proud to be out there with the boys on Saturday, and I can’t wait for the season to start.
“After spending my entire career at Ospreys so far, it is a bit strange to call the Arms Park home, but the boys have been really welcoming over the last few weeks.
“This environment is really growing on me and I’m just excited to get started.”
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