London Welsh youngster Chris Elder admits he thought his chance to shine in Aviva Premiership Rugby may never arrive, after being stranded on the sidelines for most of this season.
But having finally made his debut in the Exiles last outing against Wasps – and marking it with an exquisite try to boot – the 22-year-old wing insists he is ready to grasp the bull by the horns in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Welsh lost out 40-13 on that occasion, Tom Varndell grabbing a hat-trick at the Kassam Stadium, and Elder is confident he did enough to stick his hand up for more game-time in an Exiles shirt.
“It was a great feeling to score the try and was a nice way to make my debut. I really enjoyed the game and we were competitive,” he said.
“Just getting to play was an amazing feeling but to score really was the cherry on top.
“I’ve spent the whole season trying to break into the side, and having got the debut under my belt and put in a decent performance, I really hope it has put me in contention and I can get a bit of game-time in these final few matches.
“It did feel like a long time coming. I’ve been waiting to play the whole way through the season and hoping it would only be a week or two more until I got my chance.
“So it definitely was a relief to get some playing time in the Aviva Premiership Rugby, and to make an impact.
“I’ve felt ready to do so for a while so it was great to get that chance, but also I’ve been improving and learning as the season has gone on from all the other players here so that probably helped me make the step up.”
The Aviva Premiership Rugby’s bottom side face arguably the toughest run-in this season, with Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints and Saracens on the horizon in their final three games.
But with a host of players – currently 15 in total including this season’s standout players Seb Jewell and Will Robinson – all signing-on again with London Welsh for next season, Elder believes the squad are heading into the season’s climax with a positive outlook.
He said: “At the moment the whole team is looking forward to these final few games.
“This is an opportunity for us to prove ourselves and get some respect back from games where we feel we have not done ourselves justice.
“Hopefully I can be part of that, and it’s a fantastic chance for me to play in some of these places against the best teams in the country, learn from them and test myself.
“There’s a lot of positive energy in the squad and everyone is just really looking to make improvements and changes for the games ahead.
“We’ve refocused on individual goals, as we know if we do that we can be in a good place for next season which is an exciting prospect.
“It’s also been a massive boost seeing a lot of the guys sign-on for next year. It’s brilliant to see so many of the squad wanting to stay on, play in a winning side, and right the wrongs of this season.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for everyone involved and that speaks volumes for where we’re trying to be next year."