Ethan Waller says now is the time to make his mark for Northampton Saints with his prop rivals away on international duty.
Waller, the younger brother of Alex who is away with England Saxons, has found Aviva Premiership Rugby starts hard to come by this year having made five Saints showings from the bench.
But with Alex Corbisiero also on senior England duty ahead of the Six Nations, the 22-year-old is set for an extended run in Jim Mallinder’s side.
The first is set to be Saturday’s LV= Cup clash against rivals Leicester Tigers, and Waller admits he is ready for the challenge.
“There are a load of lads dying to make an impression, and I’m one of them,” he said. “I’ve had quite a lot of game time, but it’s about time I start making a big impact on merit, rather than when injuries occur or it is international weekend.
“It’s a key time for me with both the Alex lads away, but it’s the time of year I really look forward to and I’m looking to impose myself.
“This is a competition which is really important for the club, and for the youngsters who perhaps don’t get a chance in the Premiership or in Europe.”
The Saints have made a positive start to the LV= Cup with two wins from their opening two games against Newcastle Falcons and Scarlets.
In the meantime Northampton have progressed through to the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup where they will face Clermont Auvergne in April.
And despite a 32-8 loss to Racing Metro last time out, Waller is keen to keep up the charge for silverware.
“We need to keep going, we’re two from two in the LV= Cup so it’s been a good start for us and there is always that incentive of making a home final at Franklin’s Gardens,” he added.
“We’re also through to the knockout stages in Europe. We showed in 2011, when we went all the way to the final, that we can compete and we want to show that again this season.
“It wasn’t the result that we wanted against Racing but we’ve shown before we can bounce back from bad results and we’ll be looking to do just that. We just weren’t at the races.
“It’s always tough going over to France, and Clermont are doing well this season and are top of the Top 14.
“Their backs always play with a lot of flair, and Nick Abendanon is playing really well at the moment and we obviously know all about his threat. We’ll analyse them well before the game and hopefully get a result.”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.