Mason Grady is determined to finish the season strongly with Cardiff, after returning from his first Guinness Six Nations campaign with Wales.
The 20 year old centre, who came through the Blue and Blacks’ pathway system, made his Test debut against England in Round Three and picked up a second cap against Italy in the following game.
But with Cardiff continuing to fight in Europe and the league, Grady is ready for a mouth-watering end to the season - starting with a crucial BKT United Rugby Championship clash against Zebre on Friday evening.
“I had a good time in camp with Wales, but I’m ready to go again with Cardiff now. I’m pretty excited for the rest of the season,” said the academy graduate.
“I’m not even looking towards the World Cup yet. I want to get this season done with first of all and win as many games as possible.
“That will be really important for us as a team, and this game against Zebre is a very big game for us if we want to kick on and get a top eight finish.
“We’re taking it one game at a time at the moment, so we’re fully concentrated on Zebre and what is a big game for us.
“We can’t underestimate them because they’re very dangerous and loose. I know they haven’t won many games but there’s no room to underestimate them.”
Grady admits he’s still finding it hard to believe that he is now a full Welsh international, but the centre wants to take his learnings from the national camp into the Blue and Black jersey.
The youngster added: “I still can’t quite believe it, it’s a dream come true. Coming off the back of the injury I didn’t expect it to happen this quickly. But I’m trying to take it all in my stride and kick on with Cardiff.
“I really enjoyed the experience. If someone had offered me two 80-minute games in the Six Nations beforehand, I would’ve bitten their hand off.
“I’m really pleased with how it’s gone and I think I’ve come back as a better player after learning from the other boys. Hopefully I can bring that back into my performances for Cardiff.
“It was good to have little bits of advice from the experienced boys like George [North] and Dan [Biggar]. That really helped and I was trying to take on as much advice as I could from them.
“I didn’t have much time to adjust, I was thrown into the deep-end for Wales against England. That’s probably the biggest game for a Welshman. It took a little bit of time to adjust, but training was intense and that helped me ease into it.
“The atmosphere was the biggest thing that stood out. It was pretty surreal to be out there in front of 70,000 screaming people. That threw me off a little bit.
“I’ll keep my head down now and make sure I’m fit and raring to go. I’ll keep working on the little things like my communication and talking to people around me. That’s a big work on for me and hopefully I can get better at that and the other little things.
“Before I left camp, I spoke to the attack and defence coaches who gave me little pieces of advice to work on while I’m at Cardiff. They’ll keep in touch and watch my games.”
Cardiff’s BKT URC clash with Zebre will be televised live at the Arms Park clubhouse, which is open for all.
The Blue and Blacks will then turn their attention to the Challenge Cup knockout clash with Sale Shark (April 1, KO 8pm), with tickets now available as Cardiff chase a third European crown.