Flanker Huw Taylor is hopeful that a successful European Challenge Cup campaign can be the perfect personal springboard for a step-up to Aviva Premiership Rugby with Worcester Warriors.
The 20-year-old has been tipped as a hot prospect at Sixways this term, but patience has had to be a virtue with last week’s trip to Enisei-STM his first run-out of the season.
But the dream start wasn’t to be forthcoming for Taylor, with the Warriors losing their first Pool match 19-12, part of a youthful side that made the trip to Russia.
Now the youngster has a whole new experience to look forward to, set to run out at Sixways for the first time in his side’s starting XV when they host Brive in the same competition on Saturday.
And while he is content with playing his role in a young Worcester side, the forward is hoping impressive performances can lead to a place in Aviva Premiership Rugby squads going forward.
“We’re using Europe as a platform for our youth – for players and coaches alike,” he said.
“It was nice to be able to get on the pitch for the first time, and the chance to do that at Sixways for the first time this season will really be something special.
“There’s no better feeling than running out in Warriors colours and that little step-up this weekend will be a chance to show people, particularly the home support, what I can do.
“I’ve been keen to push on, now I’m looking towards Europe as my chance to put my name out there and perhaps I can use these experiences to push myself into Aviva Premiership reckoning too.
“We’ve seen young players getting those opportunities, so for now it’s all about doing all I can to make sure I give myself those chances.”
While the Warriors missed out on the spoils in their Challenge Cup opener, a chance to return to Sixways provides a timely boost for a side looking to build on home displays in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
While two of their three home fixtures to date have been drawn, Worcester go into Saturday’s clash with the French side still unbeaten at Sixways, including getting the better of Newcastle Falcons.
It’s a record Taylor believes is imperative to the side’s success, something he feels they need to replicate sooner rather than later if they are to progress beyond the Pool stages.
“We’ve gone back to the basics after the result in Russia, focusing on little things in the breakdowns, set-pieces and those important parts of our game,” he added. “If we get to play the game we enjoy then that’s ideal.
“We play each game as it comes, but we’ve now got to try and put a few wins on the board if we want to qualify and hopefully Saturday can be the start of that.
“We want to try and keep Sixways a fortress – we haven’t lost there this season and it’s important to keep that home momentum going, whether that’s in Aviva Premiership Rugby or in Europe.
“Wins breed wins and two defeats early on are difficult to come back from, so we need to do all we can to get that first win on the board.”