Robling delighted to be battling a top 10
LEWIS Robling will find out today who will line up against him in the London Wasps number 10 jersey – but whoever gets the nod will be a Welsh idol for the burgeoning Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half.
The 22-year-old will make his second start of the season when the region kick off their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign at Adams Park tomorrow evening.
He will be in direct competition with a Welsh international fly-half at the opposite of their career scale, regardless of who Wasps plump for.
The Aviva Premiership outfit have shared the starts this season between 34-year-old Stephen Jones, who has won 104 caps, and 30-year-old Nicky Robinson, who represented his country 13 times.
Both have donned the number 10 shirt three times so far and Robling is excited at the prospect of pitting his wits against such experienced opposition.
“It will be a privilege to play against such renowned players,” he said.
“To go up against a Welsh international is a massive opportunity for me and I aim to use it as a motivation to put in a big performance.
“I grew up watching Stephen playing outside half for Wales and he was an inspiration for me to really go for it.
“He has a great all round game – his defence is strong, he’s a great distributor and kicker. He’s got it all.
“Nicky is a different style of player. He really does take the ball flat to the line and is capable of playing in our faces and bringing their runners into the game.
“Wasps have threats coming from everywhere and real pace on the wings with Christian Wade and Tom Varndell. We have to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
Robling has endured a frustrating campaign so far with his game time limited by a combination of Steffan Jones’ form and the coaching staff’s decision to use full-back Dan Evans as their back-up fly-half.
His solitary start of the season came in the loss to Munster at Thomond Park but he gets the nod tomorrow and acknowledges that he is under pressure to perform.
“You get a certain amount of opportunities to play,” he said. “I’m lucky enough to have that chance this weekend and I have to grasp it with both hands.
“Steffan has been playing well so I can’t complain that I’ve not had the starts but now that I’ve been given one I have to make the most of it.
“This game is a massive opportunity for us and I suppose we go out there with limited pressure, because they are the favourites.
“But it would be a massive boost to our qualification hopes if we can turn them over.”
And if Robling can emulate his young rival Jones, who kicked a last-gasp penalty in a 20-point haul in last season’s LV= Cup win at Wasps, then he may be the man wearing 10 against Bayonne seven days later.