Josh Adams is ‘pumped’ ahead of a return to the Cardiff jersey, following the Blue and Blacks’ impressive recent form in South Africa.
Cardiff’s international contingent are back in selection contention as Dai Young’s men open their European account against Brive at the Arms Park on Saturday.
The two-times Challenge Cup winners head into this season’s campaign on the back of two games in South Africa, which included an impressive bonus point win over Cell C Sharks in Durban.
And Adams is excited to return to a side playing with confidence as Cardiff’s attention turns to Europe.
“I was telling Josh Turnbull in the car that I was really buzzing for the boys after the win over Sharks,” explained the Wales wing.
“I was really pumped that they’ve been able to go and get a result like that because I don’t think anyone gave them a chance really, did they?
“They went out there, rocked up against the Sharks, nilled them and played some really good rugby, and that’s encouraging for us international boys back home as well.
“We’re coming back into a team that’s full of confidence, and playing that well makes our lives easier and makes it exciting for us as well.
“We’re trying to build on that winning feeling. I know the Bulls wasn’t the perfect results for us obviously, but to put in that performance against Sharks, pick up five points and become the first Welsh team to win in South Africa, the boys deserve a pat on the back for that. That’s an amazing effort.
“But this week is a new competition. Week-in, week-out you’re competing in the URC, Top 14 or Premiership, or whichever league you’re playing in, so this sort of breaks up the season a little bit.
“To have these European breaks gives you something new to look forward to. As I said, it’s new teams to face and that’s always exciting for me.
“Season on season you analyse, review and look at the same teams, and even though a little bit does change, it’s still the same sides.
“So to play against someone unpredictable and new is always exciting.
“To have European weekends in Cardiff again is good as well and I know Saturday will be jumping at the Arms Park.”
This time last year, Adams was part of Cardiff’s heroic efforts in the Heineken Champions Cup.
With the majority of the squad stranded in South Africa due to the emergence of Omicron, the Blue and Blacks formed a squad consisting of returning internationals, promising academy youngsters and semi-professional players - and their tussles with Toulouse and Harlequins will live long in the memory.
However, despite Brive currently being embroiled in a relegation battle in the Top 14, Adams insists Cardiff won’t be taking their visitors lightly come Saturday.
The Welsh international added: “We’ve got a full squad to start, there’s no-one stuck in South Africa, so it’s a good start for us! So it’s a little bit different to this time last year, but obviously better for us.
“It’s a new competition, it’s the first European game of the year and everyone’s excited to challenge for something else.
“Rather than playing week-in, week-out, this gives you a bit of a fresh start in a new competition. Boys are coming back from international duty as well and we’re all ready to go and are looking forward to it.
“There’s an unpredictability that you get with French teams. Some weeks you will look at results and they’ve conceded a number of tries or been on the receiving end of a heavy loss. But then the next week they turn it on and they can score from anywhere.
“They’re capable of producing some moments of magic, and that’s the unpredictability with them.
“Having watch Brive over the previous couple of games, I don’t think their league position affects their performances. They’ve been in the majority of games against some good teams.
“They pushed Bordeaux really close away from home, so it’s a team that we can’t underestimate.
“We’re obviously unsure of the squad they’ll bring over, but whoever it is we’re going to be really well prepared.”
Cardiff scrum half, Lloyd Williams, is in-line to make his 250th appearance for the club, becoming only the second Blue and Black to reach the milestone in the modern era.
Adams says the 32-times capped international has established his place as a club legend and believes he sets the standards for aspiring youngsters to follow.
“If Lloyd gets out there this weekend, it will be his 250th. I asked him this morning if he would become the most capped player at the club, but he’s still a couple behind Fa’ao. He’s not far,” said Adams.
“I’ve got no doubt that he’ll take that record at some point. He’s part of the furniture here, isn’t he?
“He’s a terrific pro. He certainly leads by example in terms of what he does away from rugby as well.
“He looks after himself extremely well, he uses his spare time extremely well and he’s a great example to any young professional coming into our environment, especially scrum halves.
“For the young scrum halves coming through, to have someone like Lloyd and Tomos - two class scrum halves - to learn from, I don’t think you can ask for much better than that.
“Off the field he’s a terrific bloke as well and a real Cardiff legend.”
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