Blaine Scully insists the Cardiff Blues' senior players have a role to play in the development of the region's promising youngsters, ahead of Saturday's Anglo-Welsh Cup clash against Leicester Tigers.
The USA international returns to his old stomping ground, Welford Road, as captain and is joined in the back three by youngsters Rhun Williams and Corey Howells.
Scully joins up with the USA Eagles squad on Sunday, where he will lead his country in the Americas Rugby Championship, and the wing believes the experienced squad members must make sure the youngsters are aware of their roles within the team.
“We’re building some really good continuity as a squad and I think we’re all enjoying each other and trust each other. We’re building those connections that will become really important and we’re very positive about the potential we have in the run-in,” said Scully.
“We want to build on the enthusiasm and energy that some of the newer kids will bring in.
“We want to make it as positive an environment as we can, we know we have a job to do and we’re tasked with a pretty big challenge but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
“I always try to remember when I was younger, how I felt when there was somebody who would reach out and try to give you as much as they could to help you in your preparation.
“One of our jobs as senior players, and when we’re given leadership roles, is not only to concentrate on what we have to do personally but also instilling the professionalism and show how you do your job day-in, day-out into the youngsters coming through.
“It goes back to when I was in university, and I had some great coaches and was very fortunate to learn how to be part of a team. I think that’s a really big thing for the guys coming in because they tend to worry about themselves and what they have to do in these situations.
“But at the end of the day, you’re an element of a larger group which is your team. The challenge I’ve found is that when you’re young and trying to impose yourself and bring what you can to the game, it’s very important to bring that attitude and mindset.
“Contributing to the team is still the most important thing because that’s when the team gets to win and that’s all we want. It’s about balancing everything, put the team first as much as possible and put your hands up at the same time.”
Saturday will be Scully’s first visit to Welford Road as an away player, having been part of the Tigers set-up for two years before making the switch to the Welsh capital.
The wing is looking forward to playing in front of the fiery Leicester crowd once again, and expects the hosts to head into the game looking to build momentum before a return to Aviva Premiership action in a fortnight.
Scully said: “Leicester will want to build momentum as a club, especially at home, so I’ll expect a tough challenge for us this weekend.
“It’s one of the great places to play, and I was there myself for a couple of seasons and had a great time.
“It’s one of the classic rugby ground, I’d expect a lot of home support there and it should be a fantastic environment.”