Coach Andi Kyriacou believes the LV=Cup is a 'huge opportunity' for the next generation of stars at Cardiff Blues to shine brightly over the coming weeks.
Cardiff Blues launch the region’s LV=Cup campaign with an away trip to the north east to face Newcastle Falcons on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).
Kyriacou, who will help head up the coaching team for this week’s game, admits Blues will face a stern test against a Newcastle side eager to bounce back from defeat to Northampton Saints in their opening LV=Cup game last weekend.
But he insists it is a challenge Blues – who include a large number of academy products - should relish.
“It’s a huge opportunity for a number of players on the fringes and younger guys that our Academy system has pinpointed as the future of the region,” said Kyriacou.
“A total of 16 of the match day 23 are a product of the Blues Academy so that is really big positive in terms of the future and our homegrown players.
“The players who have played regular first team rugby in this first block have been given some time to recover, but we will have some senior pros involved too.
“The likes of Lou Reed, Ellis Jenkins, Tavis Knoyle and Rhys Williams will be involved. They have played a lot of PRO12 rugby over the years and are more than experienced enough to be put in this environment and cope with it.
“They will also be crucial for the younger guys, people like Garyn Smith who we are keen to see, so it will be good to see how they all gel together.”