Jason Harries insists excitement levels have reached fever pitch at Cardiff Blues ahead of Friday's Guinness PRO14 opener against defending champions, Leinster.
The 29-year-old joined Wales’ Capital Region over the summer, making the switch from Edinburgh, having previously represented Scarlets, Carmarthen Quins, Wales Sevens and London Scottish.
The tie has been dubbed the “Clash of the Champions”, after the Blues picked up the Challenge Cup final last season, with Leinster claiming a PRO14 and Champions Cup double.
But Harries reckons his side can be fearless heading into Friday’s fixture, believing it’s the perfect opportunity to put down a marker for the rest of the campaign.
“It doesn’t come much bigger than Leinster on a Friday night in Cardiff as a first league game,” said Harries.
“When the fixtures first came out, and the boys saw the opening night, there were a lot of smiles on the boys’ faces.
“These are the games you want the be involved in. The big games. They’re the defending PRO14 champions, and they’re coming to Cardiff on Friday.
“Everyone who will be playing on Friday night will be champing at the bit.
“To test yourself, you have to play against the best, and Leinster certainly are one of the best teams out there at the moment. The boys are really looking forward to it.”
Harries played a part in both pre-season friendlies against Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs, dotting down on his Cardiff Blues’ debut against the former.
Harries is looking forward to make his competitive debut on Friday, and is determined to keep hold of the starting spot for the rest of the campaign.
The wing said: “I said when I first came here, that I wanted to keep my head down, train really well in pre-season and put my hand up for selection, and I think I will continue to do that.
“I want to be in that jersey for long parts of the season, and continue improving.
“I was really impressed with the form Cardiff Blues showed towards the back end of last season, and obviously winning the Challenge Cup trophy.
“I think that form has definitely transferred into pre-season training. We’ve had a really tough pre-season, but it’s been good to be involved and get into the feeling of excitement around the region and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”
Champions collide in the Welsh capital, as Cardiff Blues host Leinster for the opening Guinness PRO14 clash of the campaign on Friday, August 31. Make sure you've got the hottest ticket in town NOW!