Bristol Rugby’s tough start to the new season means their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign has become vital according to fly-half Billy Searle, and the 20-year-old is hoping to catapult himself into the first team set-up.
Andy Robinson’s side have lost all seven of their domestic games so far this season, as well as both of their European Challenge Cup matches.
They face Worcester Warriors on Friday on the opening weekend of the Anglo-Welsh and Searle is desperate to be involved in a tournament renowned for giving young players a platform to shine.
The fly-half made his first start for the club in their 22-6 defeat to Bath Rugby in the Challenge Cup last month, and hopes that an impressive Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign will catch the eye of Robinson.
“I am trying to push up into the first team and take my opportunities when they come. Now the Anglo-Welsh Cup has started I am hoping to get involved with more games,” he said.
“I hope to play against Worcester and show off what I can do and then try and push my way into the Premiership side. That is what the Anglo-Welsh Cup is about for young guys.
“It is an opportunity for the whole club because we need to start gaining some momentum and so the games become more important.
“There is only so much you can do in training really and so it is games like this where you push your claim.”
Searle joined Bristol Rugby on a two-year contract from National League One side Plymouth Albion in April, and says his game has improved massively as a result.
He may have been on the losing side on his debut, but believes the team’s current situation is not a hindrance to young players trying to find their way.
“It is not easy to come into a struggling team but we are all working hard and I just have to come in and play my natural game, work hard and not focus too much on the situation we find ourselves in,” he added.
“I am really enjoying it here and the professional scene is doing a lot for my game. I am training every day and it is really helping my game management as a 10.
“Getting to train with Gavin Henson and Shane Geraghty does a lot for my game and I am trying to learn as much as I can from them.”
The Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend and for all the fixtures and details of the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on 19 March see www.new-heroes.com