Jarrod Evans is excited for the challenges on both personal and team levels, as Cardiff Blues enter the first round of European Challenge Cup action against Lyon on Friday.
The young outside half played an instrumental role in last week’s derby day victory over Dragons at Cardiff Arms Park, racking up an 18-point haul with one try, a penalty and five conversions to his name.
Evans, who also kicked the match-winning conversion against Connacht earlier in the season, insists there were plenty of positives from his side’s attacking form against Dragons and believes they can carry momentum into a tough test against the Top 14’s leading side.
“We looked pretty good in attack during the first half and I thought we threw the same sort of attacking shape at them as we did in the second half,” said Evans.
“We changed it a little bit but probably needed a roasting at half time because physically we didn’t turn up, on a more defensive side.
“We attacked for the majority of the first half, which led to them being being a bit fatigued in the second half, where things started to open up for us.
“We got off to a shaky start, but I think we’ve got some continuity at the moment.
“We won away in Connacht, away at Munster we struggled in the second half but it was a good first half performance and then obviously we had the Dragons game. We just need a bit of momentum and we’ll be fine.
“We’ve obviously got two French teams, so they’ll be pretty strong at home. But it’s a good challenge for us and takes our minds away from the PRO14 and we can focus on Europe for a few weeks.
“It’s tough to pick individuals out because we’re not sure what sort of side they’ll bring, but I’m sure they’ll be physical and will bring a decent kicking game. I think they kick the most in the Top14 so we’ll have to figure out a away to receive those kick and attack from that.”
The Pontyclun-product believes his game has rapidly improved over the past season and credits the Cardiff Blues coaches and players for their part in his development.
The Lyon squad is packed with international superstars, such as the likes of Liam Gill, Alexis Palisson, Delon Armitage and Lionel Beauxis, but Evans is personally excited at the prospect of facing former Toulouse and Toulon playmaker, Frédéric Michalak.
Evans said: “He’s a bit of an off-the-cuff players when I watched him for France and when he was at Toulouse and Toulon. It would be good if I could come up against him. As I said, I’m not sure what side they’ll come over with, but if I face him I can definitely learn from him.
“I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from the coaches here and the players around me who have helped me develop and I feel ready now and I’m a better player compared to the player I was three years ago.
“I don’t feel under pressure to play safe or make the easy decision, so there’s credit due to the coaches for that.
“I’ve had a few games now to find my feet and I’m enjoying it. It’s tough, being a 10, but it’s about learning and it’s been good for me to be a young 10 coming through.”
Tickets are still available for Cardiff Blues' European Challenge Cup opener against Top 14 leaders, Lyon, at Cardiff Arms Park tomorrow (KO 7.00pm). Click HERE to purchase yours!