Ben Thomas is relishing the opportunity to pull on the famous number 10 jersey as he makes his first Cardiff Blues start since the turn of the year.
Thomas, who is usually deployed in the centre, has been handed the reins at fly-half as Cardiff Blues seek to keep their Guinness PRO14 hopes alive against runaway leaders Munster.
Like many players, it has been a stop start season for Thomas but after missing last week’s trip to Ireland, he is determined to grab his opportunity with both hands.
He said: “It’s been a bit of a stop start year with Covid, some games being cancelled and breaks in the season but I’m hoping to get a run of games now to take that into the tail end of the season.
“I’m happy to (play 10) if that’s what helps the team and especially in periods like this with Jarrod away with Wales. It’s always good to have some flexibility in positions so wherever I am called upon, I just want to do a job for the team.
“With international windows there’s always going to be opportunities for us younger players and we just have to be ready when called upon and take any game time we can get.”
Cardiff are currently four points adrift of third-place Scarlets with the top three qualifying automatically for the European Champions Cup.
Dai Young’s side had secured back-to-back derby victories over their Welsh rivals before last week’s loss to Connacht and Thomas remains confident.
He continued: “We had a bit of an indifferent start to the season but we seem to have turned a bit of a corner, with the exception of last week. We’re definitely on the way up and there’s a bit of a transition period now where we can right a few wrongs.
“Europe is definitely something that’s still in our reach, it's sort of in our own hands and other teams but as long as we can put together some big performances, results will go our way.”
The home side will undoubtedly need to put some wrongs right in the first PRO14 game at the Arms Park in more than a year. A lack of accuracy and discipline proved costly in key moments in Connacht and that has been a consistent theme in training this week.
There will be a greater accountability within the Blues ranks and Thomas is hopeful that back on their home patch and with lessons learnt they can topple the Conference B leaders.
Thomas added: “Against Connacht there was just a lot of individual errors. On five or six occasions there were errors which completely killed our momentum. When you make errors like that it is difficult to get into the game.
“There has been an emphasis this week on being accountable for our own mistakes and hopefully we can start building pressure on teams.
“The Arms Park is our home isn’t it? Although we’ve had games at Rodney Parade and the City Stadium, there’s nothing quite like playing at the Arms Park, even if it is without fans. To be back there is massive for us.
“The pitch makes a big difference, especially this time of year and with the brand of rugby we try to play. Going away to places like Galway can be quite difficult to play on those pitches but hopefully on Friday it will be a nice dry pitch which will suit our game.
“Munster will come with a big, loaded team but we’re more than capable of taking them on in all aspects of the game. It’s a case of looking after ourselves and hopefully we can do the job.
“With the artificial surface we’ve touched on, hopefully us backs can have a bit more say in the game but it will always be won or lost up front.
“We know the threats they have have but we have to look after what we can do, put our best foot forward and hopefully we can get the result.”