A DAUNTING duel with a Wales and Lions star meant an emergency stop at a layby in Newbridge but Dragons fly-half Arwel Robson hopes that conquering his nerves against the Ospreys will earn another crack at 10.

The 20-year-old got the nod ahead of Gavin Henson for the New Year's Eve Guinness PRO14 derby at Rodney Parade, joining forces with 17-year-old scrum-half Dan Babos.

The pair locked horns with Wales starters Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar, who both toured New Zealand with the Lions last summer, and showed glimpses of their raw talent in horrendous conditions.

Robson made his Dragons debut off the bench at Leicester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November 2016 and made his first start at Northampton in that tournament last autumn.

But selection for a home league derby against the Ospreys ensured the pre-match butterflies were sizeable.

Robson said: "I won't lie, I pulled over in Newbridge to be sick before the game! I was a bit nervous but as soon as you step over that white line you kind of go into autopilot and things just happen.

"It's a big deal but you are playing in front of a big crowd but don't really realise they are there, you zone out and go into autopilot. You've played rugby for 10 years and just do what you do.

"It's a bigger occasion but as soon as the first five minutes are gone it is just another game of rugby."

Robson, who first played rugby at Penallta, may have been initially edgy on the inside but it didn't show against an opposite number who boasted 212 Ospreys appearances and 60 caps.

And the Dragons man relished the task against Biggar, a delightful man off the field but notoriously chirpy on it. Robson gave as good as he got with the pair in the thick of half-time jostling when the teams returned to the changing rooms.

"It was quite interesting and daunting at the start," said Robson. "All week I knew that I was starting against Biggar and Webb.

"It was a good experience. Biggar is one of my heroes and from talking to the boys I knew what to expect about what he is like on the pitch! I enjoyed it, I've got total respect for him and Rhys Webb."

Robson spoke earlier this season about his appetite for asking Henson questions and he once again tapped into the playmaker's wealth of knowledge ahead of the Ospreys clash.

"Gavin has been great," said Robson, who played at last year's World Rugby U20 Championship. "He knew he hadn't been picked and the first thing that he said to me was well done.

"He sat by me, went through some Ospreys stuff and is a really down to earth guy who has been a great influence on me, Angus O'Brien and Dorian Jones. He can only help us as we go on."

Robson has made six appearances this season and is likely to enjoy more outings as head coach Bernard Jackman thinks towards 2018/19.

"Bernard has put a lot of faith in me and it was important I put a performance in. I didn't run a lot [because of the conditions] but I thought that what I did do was half-decent," said Robson.

"Credit to the coaches for giving me and Dan a chance in a big occasion against two Lions half-backs, I really enjoyed the experience.

"Hopefully the weather can be better if we get picked again and we can play some running rugby for the fans because there was a lot of kicking in those conditions. I'll just try to get picked again now and then perform well if I do."