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Adams urges Cardiff young guns to seize opportunity

Josh Adams during Cardiff training.

Adams urges Cardiff young guns to seize opportunity

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Josh Adams has urged Cardiff’s youngsters to stand up and be counted when they host European champions Toulouse in their Champions Cup opener this Saturday.

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There are 42 members of Cardiff Rugby staff, including director of rugby Dai Young, quarantining in isolation at a hotel just outside London, with a further six remain in South Africa. This means Gruff Rees will take charge of the side on an interim basis, with the team made up of internationals who were left at home, transition players, and semi-professional players.

But Wales wing Adams, who will be making his Champions Cup debut, is confident the clubs younger talent will make a name for themselves at the Arms Park this weekend. “I don’t think there has ever been a scenario like this – boys stuck in other countries unable to come home, quarantine, it’s a strange scenario,” Adams said.

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“It is important the lads who are behind and haven’t travelled to South Africa just bring a lot of excitement to this week as best we can, and encourage the young academy boys who are training with us to go out and play with no fear.

“There is no pressure on us – I am sure everybody is expecting Toulouse to beat us – but within our inner circle we are quietly confident we can cause them problems. Talk about being thrown in the deep end.

“These scenarios come up, and I know speaking to these boys they are excited as well. I said (to them) if you make a mistake, just keep going, keep going at it in a way, be naïve in a way, and not care who you are facing and we will try and give you the best platform to showcase your talents.”

Adams says the squad are determined to embrace Cardiff’s ‘strength through unity’ motto. “That’s our slogan as a club and this week, and next week potentially, more than ever that will be the case,” said Adams.

“Spectators, backroom staff, players, academy players all come together and really try to make Saturday a great day for everybody. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of people playing their first game for Cardiff.

“We want their family and friends to come down and experience what a sold out Arms Park is like first of all and then to be able celebrate with them afterwards. Regardless of what happens we will be proud of them that they’ve represented Cardiff in European rugby and just to show what it means to play for Cardiff.”

Adams was also quick to stress that players aren’t robots, and emphasised elite sportsmen suffer with their mental health as much as other professions. “We are in a very privileged position to do what we do and we’re very lucky,” said Adams.

“It doesn’t mean we’re robots. There is no beating around the bush.

“Being in these bubbles is difficult. You are disconnected from the outside world.

“Whatever the period of time we are in there, boys who joined these bubbles in certain campaigns are making loads of sacrifices. When you’ve got little children – myself being a dad now – it makes it extra hard.

“You know the time you are giving up with your family, especially when players have young children. It is tough for the boys, you try to be as light-hearted as we can in the group, we try and have a chuckle about things and make light of the situation, but I feel for them 100 per cent.

“We have been speaking to them most days just to have a chat and keep spirits high. Being stuck in the room at the minute is difficult and we feel for them.”

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