After crossing for his first try in Cardiff colours in Saturday’s win over Zebre, Gwilym Bradley is determined to use his first season in senior rugby as a springboard for his future development.
The academy member, who was signed through the Welsh Exiles programme, made his debut against Leinster earlier this season and has gone on to make seven Cardiff Blues appearances throughout the campaign.
In the Rainbow Cup finale, he started in a back row alongside Welsh internationals, James Botham and Josh Turnbull, and dotted down for the game’s first try from the base of a driving line-out.
With a number of youngsters handed opportunities during the Rainbow Cup campaign, Bradley is delighted with the faith shown in youngsters by director of rugby, Dai Young, and is hungry to soak up knowledge from his experienced fellow back row stars.
The Wales under-20 international said: “I’ve certainly appreciated the trust they show in youngsters here, and I know it’s the same for a lot of the other boys as well.
“Those opportunities have helped me enormously so I’m just grateful for that.
“The Rainbow Cup has given some boys who have had less game-time throughout the year a chance to start some games and build experience.
“The way you get better is by playing game, and playing alongside boys like Jim and JT will only help you improve.
“It’s been a great season for me on a personal level and now I want to use pre-season to keep getting better and come back next year.
“I’m excited for next season, and hopefully playing in front of crowds again. I don’t know what it’s like to play with the crowd down at the Arms Park.
“But from what all the boys are saying, it’s rocking when it’s full at the Arms Park and I’m really excited to taste that.
“There is a great depth of boys in the back row here, and that means there’s also a lot to learn from.
“Playing with those boys is really good experience for me and no doubt helps me to improve.
“We’ve got a few weeks off now and then we’re back in for pre-season, which is exciting.
“Dai is building something very exciting here and I’m just pleased to be part of it at the moment.”
Cardiff signed off the 2020/21 season with all five points against the Italian outfit, however the second half was stop-start with a number of decisions directed to the television match official.
However, try scorer Bradley says his team can use the last few weeks to ensure they hit the ground running next season.
“We’ll reflect on this game and we’ll reflect on the entire season in terms of strengths and things we need to work on,” explained the 20 year old.
“We’ll look to address those over pre season and come back for the games in the new season in a stronger place.
“I think it was 65 minutes that the second half went on for in the end, which is obviously a little bit longer than usual. But these decisions have to be checked and we got there in the end.
“It’s been a strange season in many ways, but in many other ways it’s been the same as usual. It’s always been about trying to do what we can to get results and that happened tonight.
“It was good to get on the scoresheet, and it certainly doesn’t happen very often!
“It’s nice and it came from a driving maul and the work of the boys in the forwards. It was a pack effort for that one.”