Ellis Jenkins believes Cardiff still has “stardust in our squad” despite playing resources ravaged for Saturday’s match against Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup.
The Arms Park meeting will take place against a backdrop of 42 Cardiff players and staff in isolation at a hotel just outside London until next week.
Jenkins was among a handful of Welsh internationals from Cardiff who did not travel to South Africa, which last month became a country on the UK government’s red list as new travel restrictions were imposed on following the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus.
Cardiff, the Scarlets, Munster and Zebre Parma were in South Africa playing United Rugby Championship matches when the restrictions took effect, before eventually getting charter flights home.
Jenkins, who led Wales in recent Fall Nations Series victories over Fiji and Australia, will be part of the Cardiff challenge this weekend alongside his team-mates, semi-professionals and players of the Academy of Wales.
Cardiff would face a tall order against the five-time European champions even if they were at full strength, but Jenkins is not disheartened.
âWe were actually underdogs when this game was announced, if we’re being honest with ourselves,â flanker Jenkins said.
âWith the whole situation going on, the pressure is completely released on us.
âAnd sport is sometimes strange. This does not always go as it should. We still have stardust on our team.
âThere are a lot of boys who would like to play this game who are in a hotel room.
âWe have to try to do them justice and do the best we can. We have to go out and do a good job.
Jenkins, alongside Josh Adams, Tomos Williams and Seb Davies, will provide an experienced advantage to the Cardiff side.
And part of their job will be to help the academy contingent be part of Cardiff’s opening to Europe.
Jenkins added, âWe need to make it less daunting for them, relax them as much as possible, and allow them to show what they can do.
âThe last thing we want to do is overwhelm them with information or responsibilities that take away from their natural rugby abilities.
âWe sat down with them at the start of the week and said, ‘Let us take care of ourselves and the organization, and you go out and play.’
âWe said no one was expecting anything spectacular, but they’re here for a reason and it’s an opportunity. I was really impressed with them.
“Some of them are a little nervous, but we’re just trying to take the opportunity, really.”