While his short-term focus is on beating London Welsh this weekend, Gloucester Rugby’s Tom Hicks is adamant the LV= Cup can act as a springboard to even bigger and better things.
The lock made his first appearance of the season during the enthralling 28-27 loss to Exeter Chiefs last time out and is in the starting XV for Sunday’s tilt against the Exiles.
With Gloucester fighting for their LV= Cup lives, Hicks acknowledges that it is a prime opportunity to show that he can cope with the pressures of first-team rugby.
And the 23-year-old insists that if he performs well then there is no reason he can’t follow in the footsteps of other stars who made their mark in the cup competition.
“It’s a great competition for bringing players through and a club like Gloucester are confident to back the young players such as myself,” he said
“It’s a great opportunity for us to put our hand up as much as we can for first-team selection and it can be used as a slingshot to the first team – you only have to look at players like Jack Nowell and what he’s done.
“There’s him and lots of others who have shone in the LV= Cup in the past couple of years and now they’re a real name.
“Every player playing for Gloucester in the LV= Cup wants to do a similar thing. At the end of the day it’s a first-team game, so if you perform well and don’t look out of place then it’s only going to be a good thing.
“You’ll be putting your hand up to the Gloucester coaches as well as everyone else.”
While his route to regular first-team action is blocked by the likes of Tom Savage, Tom Palmer and James Hudson, Hicks believes the number of quality locks the Cherry and Whites have is actually a positive.
And he claims that his development is consistently aided by the fact that his second row counterparts have been around the block.
“There’s a lot of competition at Gloucester at the moment which is exactly what I want as a young player to keep me on my toes,” he added.
“I often sit down with James Hudson and Tom Palmer on Mondays and Tuesdays and go through opposition line-outs.
“I’m learning tons of stuff from them because they’re very experienced at what they do and anything I can learn from them, I take in as much as I can.”
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Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets