Exeter Chiefs newcomer Ollie Devoto says he and his team-mates must make the most of the club’s final pre-season run-out when they tackle the Newport-Gwent Dragons on Friday night (7:30pm).
Having chalked up friendly wins over the Scarlets and Ulster Rugby, Rob Baxter’s side will be looking to maintain their unbeaten run of games at Rodney Parade.
Devoto, a summer signing from Aviva Premiership rivals Bath, knows it’s a vital fixture not only to sharpen up skills and match fitness, but will be the final chance to impress ahead of the club’s seasonal opener at Wasps on Sunday week.
"We’ve had two good work-outs so far, but it’s always good to play away from home in pre-season," said the 22-year-old back. "Here at Sandy Park we’ll always back ourselves, but this week will be a different challenge again for us."
The England international knows a trip into the Principality will always pose a stiff challenge to any visiting side, but he insists the Chiefs are looking forward to building on what has been an encouraging start to the new campaign.
"As a team we’re looking forward to it," he added. "It’s a cliché, I know, but we’ll focus on this game and what we can get out of it. Then, next week, we’ll come back in and prepare for what will be a huge test against Wasps."
Devoto was given his first outing in a Chiefs jersey during Saturday’s 25-19 win over Ulster, coming on as a second half replacement in a fully changed back division.
As first hit ups go, the Yeovil-born star was content with his debut showing, but he will be looking to impress further against the Dragons.
"Saturday was a good work-out," he said. "Getting out and playing was great as you can do all the fitness in the world, but it’s nothing compared to playing in games.
"I thought the first half boys did really well, especially with a strong wind against them, then in the second half we were able to play a bit more. Fair play to Ulster they upped their game as well and they almost us got us at the end."
Getting out on the field, though, is key for Devoto – especially as he looks to integrate himself into the Exeter attack.
"There were one or two mistakes in there, but I’m learning every day and it’s a great environment to be around at the moment," he continued.
"You only have to look at the squad and see that we have some unbelievable talent across the board. We’ve still got guys like Michele Campagnaro and Jack Nowell to come back soon as well, so I know getting into the backline will be tough."
It’s a challenge, however, that Devoto is keen to take on, continuing this Friday in Newport.