Olly Robinson will captain Cardiff Blues against London Irish tomorrow and he insists the Anglo-Welsh Cup clash is the perfect opportunity for young players to make a statement.
The openside flanker, who joined the Blues on a short-term contract earlier this season before penning a permanent deal, is one of nine changes to the side that lost to Leicester Tigers.
Wales’ Capital Region have no chance of reaching the knockout stages but Robinson knows it provides both young players a chance to impress and the collective to gain momentum as a pivotal period approaches.
He said: “It’s great, I hadn’t played in the Premiership before I played in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last year but it allows you to show what you can do.
“It’s a good chance for young boys and everyone else to put a performance in and start building momentum back into the league.
“Welford Road is a really tough place to play as most teams in the Premiership will tell you. To go there and be in with a chance of winning is a credit but the boys were really disappointed not to win.
“It shows how well they did that they were disappointed so we are looking forward to backing it up.
“London Irish are a really good side, they’ve not had the season they would’ve wanted in the Premiership but they’re coming off the back of a really good win against Wasps. To put 50-points on any Wasps side is a real achievement so we know we have to be on our mettle to be within a chance.
“It’s great that sides go full strength, they are the teams you want to face and for some of the younger boys it will be the most intense game they’ve played in.
“That’s where you want to test yourself and it’s really exciting to be able to go out and see where we are as a squad.”
It has unquestionably been a rollercoaster season for Robinson, the son of former England flanker Andy, but he has impressed everyone in the building at Cardiff Blues.
He is the first Englishman to captain the Arms Park outfit during the regional era and his teammates have wasted no time in winding the 26-year-old up.
Robinson added: “Life throws you some funny things and it’s all about trying to take it all in my stride. I have loved my time here and how welcome I have felt here is as welcome as I’ve found at any rugby club or environment.
“I’m really excited about the next couple of years with the youngsters we have coming through. For the rest of this year we have a big job to do and I’m really excited about where we can go in the next through months.
“The boys are giving me a bit of stick about being an Englishman leading Cardiff Blues but it is what it is, someone has to do it and I’m just hoping to put a performance in. I won’t say or do anything too much differently.
“If you speak to the boys they will say I’m very different to anything, a bit posher than some of the others! I don’t like to say too much, I like to be fairly positive and do my talking on the pitch.”
Cardiff Blues face London Irish in the final round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Cardiff Arms Park, kicking off at 7.45pm tomorrow night. Tickets are still available with unreserved seating in the south stand only and can be purchased by clicking here or from the ticket office tomorrow.