Ioan Davies is excited by the development opportunities on offer through the Celtic Cup, and is aiming to play a key role for Cardiff Blues A throughout the campaign.
The academy star played the full 80 minutes against defending champions, Leinster A, last week and has retained the number 15 jersey for Saturday’s trip to Belfast to take on Ulster A.
The full back, who played a starring role for Wales under-20 in the World Championship over the summer, insists the competition is an important platform for the region’s promising youngsters and believes he can learn from his experienced team-mates.
“On a personal level, I’ll take it one game at a time, try to develop each week and also develop what I learnt during my time with Wales under-20 and take it into the Celtic Cup and Premiership games this season.
“I want to develop individually and bring that to impact the team.
“You want to put your hand up for any team you’re involved with, and I’ve enjoyed training with the Cardiff Blues senior squad.
“I’m trying to learn from the players around me in that environment and develop my game like that.
“This competition is perfect for young players like myself. It’s high-quality and you get to play alongside some experienced heads which is great. I thought it was a brilliant experience to be involved last year, but I’m looking forward to put my hands up for more rugby this time around.”
Despite the defeat to the Dublin-based outfit, Davies is enthusiastic about elements of his side’s performance and insists the standard of competition is of high-quality.
“There were positives and negatives to come from the game. The scoreline went against us but in that first half I think we showed some promising stuff, as we did in the final half hour,” said the Wales under-20 international.
“We had a good set of defence on our own line, managing to turn the ball over eventually, and I think that really showed the character of this team.
“It was a really good game to be involved in it. It was a physical and fast game, and it quite challenging considering we didn’t have much time to prepare but that will come as the campaign goes on and I’m looking forward to the rest of the competition.
“There’s a mix of experience and young talent, which makes it a really unique competition and is a different challenge because you have to gel as a team.
“The other teams are really well-drilled so the competition is of a high standard and it’s a big challenge for us as a group and as individuals.
“Leinster were a good team and they really capitalised on our mistakes. We can’t afford those slip-ups at this level.
“But we’ll have a look at that at training and hopefully we can put an improved performance in against Ulster on Saturday.
“This preparation week has been really important for us. We’ve had an opportunity to review last week’s game, and work more on our game plan during training on Tuesday and Thursday.”