Alun Lawrence is ready to give his all for the Cardiff Blues cause, after making his first senior start for his home region against Leinster on Sunday.
The academy product - who usually features at blindside flanker or number eight - lined up in the number seven jersey against the defending champions.
Youngsters Gwilym Bradley and Iestyn Harris also made their senior debuts from the bench, and while Lawrence was disappointed to lose the encounter in Dublin, he admits that a lifelong dream came true on a personal level.
“I’m really grateful to get my first start in the PRO14, and it was an awesome experience,” said the back row.
“I remember telling my brothers years ago, the places you want to make your first start for your home region are the likes of Leinster at the RDS or Munster at Thomond Park.
“So to be able to have the opportunity to do it here was special.
“Playing seven was a new one, I’ll be honest, and I think it was my second time playing there, with my first time being off the bench against Treviso last week!
“But this day and age, playing six, seven or eight are all pretty similar. We go from having a lot of specialist sevens, which is a bit of a rarity these days, and I’m no means a specialist seven.
“But I’m always looking to be part of this team and part of this culture. I want to put on the jersey, no matter what number is on my back, and I’m always willing to give everything for this jersey, for the boys, for every member of staff that represents Cardiff Blues.
“Whether I’m playing six, seven or eight, I’ll always give it everything.
“It was disappointing on the day for the team, but I was really grateful for the opportunity I had and I really enjoyed it out there when I was going.
“It was brilliant to see boys like Iestyn and Gwilym out there. Credit to them because they’ve worked hard to get where they are and they fully deserve their first caps.
“Both of them brought a real sense of energy and a lot of collisions when they were on there so there’s big, bright futures for them both and as a young boy myself it’s quality to see your mates coming through like that and young boys stepping up when they’re asked to.
“Injuries happen and squads get stretched but we have the talent and the boys willing to put in the effort to help them out, so big congratulations to them as well.”
Leinster ran away with a 40-5 victory at RDS Arena - their 26th consecutive Guinness PRO14 win - although a gutsy performance saw Cardiff Blues remain in the contest until the final quarter.
Lawrence added: “I really feel like the scoreline didn’t reflect the state of the game. Everyone will see that as a pumping, but you really didn’t feel like that out there and it’s not a reflection of the game.
“That’s no disrespect to Leinster, because they're a quality outfit and they showed that tonight.
“But considering the effort that we put in, I feel like an unfair scoreline. But that’s the nature of the beast when you come up against a team as intense and clinical as that.
“Sometimes score-lines like that happen but we’ll dust ourselves off and go again next week.
“Credit where it’s due to them, it’s a daunting prospect coming to a place like this with that kind of record under their belt.
“But we have a lot of talent in our squad and we believe in what we’re about, how we want to play and the efforts that we put in. We feel we can take on teams like Leinster
“For large parts of that game, I did think we went toe-to-toe with them in a big old arm wrestle.
“But it was just those little 50-50s and one per cents that make the difference in the end, and we lost out on those today.”