Fly half Gareth Anscombe insists Cardiff Blues are ready for the 'biggest game of the season' as they head to Rodney Parade for the European Rugby Challenge Cup clash with Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday (kick-off 12.45pm).
Cardiff Blues face Dragons in a last eight shootout in Newport with local bragging rights and the chance to keep European dreams alive on the line.
Anscombe, recently part of the Welsh squad for the 6 Nations, is hoping for a winning return after he inspired Blues to victory with a man-of-the-match performance in the Guinness PRO12 clash between the teams on New Year’s Day.
But the 23-year-old is under no illusions as the red-hot reception Blues can expect in the clash, also being screened live on BT Sport.
“It’s been good to be back on the field playing,” he said. “It was not the result we were after against Ulster last week, but we now have the biggest game of the season. There is a lot riding on it and the boys are excited.
“You want to play in big games and this is one of them. There is extra pressure on everyone, especially when you look at the PRO12 season, so this is a chance for us to bring a trophy to the cabinet.
“The Dragons will back themselves at home, but we are confident too. I enjoyed the first two derby games with Dragons; it’s like in Super Rugby when you play teams from your conference.
“There is always a little bit more riding on those games, you know each other well, so they are physical encounters and the last time at Rodney Parade was pretty special.
“You want to play well in big games and I want to lead the team around and get us the result.”
Cardiff Blues emerged 11-9 winners when the teams met in a dramatic opening day of 2015, with Anscombe slotting a penalty and drop goal in the encounter.
“We had lost the weekend before at home, which was disappointing, so to play well there was important to us,” he said.
“They have a strong forward pack and are physical up front. We’ve got a strong indication of how they are going to play and they have some good finishers out wide, with Hallam (Amos) who has been a bit of a superstar recently. Tyler (Morgan) might also be back.
“At home they are a force - they got one over Ulster the other day - so they are only getting better and better. It’s going to be a huge clash.
“Winning the Challenge Cup would be a step in the right direction for us,” he added. “There is no getting away from the fact that we have not performed as we wanted in the league.
"We have been pretty inconsistent and off the field things have changed. It has been challenging and frustrating, but this is a big chance for us."