Hallam Amos is confident that Cardiff Blues can thrive under pressure as they prepare for a crucial Challenge Cup clash against Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
John Mulvihill’s side travel to Welford Road sitting in second place in Pool 5, five points behind their hosts as they head into the final two rounds of European action.
The Welsh international, who switched to the capital from Dragons during the summer, believes his side can take confidence from their recent run of form and is relishing the opportunity to play in another big occasion.
“It’s a big old game for both teams. They’re at home, and I played at Welford Road years ago for Wales under-16 and it’s a great stadium,” said Amos.
“But it’s enjoyable and that’s why we play the game. The derbies usually take on a little bit of a different aspect, and it’s the same again this weekend.
“There’s a bit more pressure, but hopefully we can thrive on that.
“They’ve got some key players that we’ll need to contain. Last time out here, Ellis Genge had a great game and George Ford at 10, if he plays, is a fantastic and world class player.
“It’s about keeping those type of boys under wraps while imposing our game as well.
“We’ve got a couple of boys back this week, which is good to see because they’ve been working hard and it’s good to have boys coming back from injury.
“We’re in a good place. Obviously we were frustrated to lose against Scarlets, as we did enough to win that game.
“But we’ve had a few wins over the last seven or eight games where we’ve shown what we can do and hopefully we can carry that form into this weekend.
“It’s tough because the couple of losses that we have had have been really close. I feel that we could, or should, have won all games that I’ve played, but it wasn’t to be in a couple of them.
“We’ve had some great crowds at the Arms Park over the last couple of weeks and that noise and buzz is brilliant. The games can only be better for both players and spectators if it’s like that so hopefully it will be the same in Leicester this weekend.”
The 25-year-old impressed during the festive derbies, and has topped the Guinness PRO14 charts with an impressive 11 offloads over the past two weeks.
Amos is enjoying life in the number 15 jersey, particularly as his new side play an attacking and expansive style of rugby.
“By playing 15, I tend to get my hands on the ball a little bit more, which lends itself to going into contact more, and therefore looking to offload a bit more.
“It’s always been a part of my game that’s been a strength and the more touches you get then the more you can show what you can do.
“Having some games in the 15 jersey has allowed me to do that a bit more. I’d like to think it’s another string to my bow.
“Over the last couple of games, it might be about how things have fallen into place and that’s why there’s been more offloads that usual.
“The style of rugby we play is expansive. We don’t have a particularly big forwards pack, and our nines and tens like Tomos, Lloyd, Jarrod and Tovey are brilliant when the games open and are fantastic at leading that expansive game.
“As a backline, we’d like to think our strengths are there as a team and hopefully I can add something into that.
“We haven’t scored that many tries, but the rugby we’ve been playing has been good.
“Me and Josh have come in and it can always be tough slotting in. But hopefully as we get used to each other a bit more and more accustomed to each other hopefully we’ll be able to score more tries.”