New Cardiff Blues recruit Casey Laulala got his northern hemisphere account off to a winning start last weekend and now can't wait to get his first taste of Heineken Cup action.
The 27-year-old All Black centre arrived in the Welsh capital after helping Canterbury win the Air New Zealand Cup and immediately got pressed into service in the Blues' home win over Connacht last weekend. Now he has to wait to see if he gets the nod for the opening match of the back-to-back Heineken Cup clashes with Toulouse.
"I was quite pleased with my first game. We played pretty well in the first half, but then lost a bit of structure after that," said the Samoan-born Laulala.
"Our kicking game wasn't great and that is something we'll have to work on. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just happy to be here and I'm looking forward to maybe getting a chance to play in the Heineken Cup.
"There is a pretty talented midfield contingent at the Blues with Tom Shanklin and Jamie Roberts, so I don't know whether I'll get a chance this weekend. But I really want to get involved in the tournament and it would be fantastic to play against a side like Toulouse."
While the Blues were beating bottom of the table Connacht in a Magners League basement battle at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday, Guy Noves' Toulouse side were losing 27-21 at Brive in the Top 14.But Blues coach Dai Young is expecting another mighty challenge from the Frenchmen when they return to the city in which they were beaten 9-6 in last season's quarter-final.
"That was a great day for the Blues last season, beating Toulouse in the quarter-finals, and it proved we are capable of beating them at our best. As far as I'm concerned, Heineken Cup games don't come any bigger than this," said Young.
"We will go into the game with that fear factor because we know that if we aren't on form they could really put us to the sword. But I would also like to think they will fear us a bit as well after last season.
"We have improved out of sight as a team and we have the players who, on their day, are more than a match for anyone. We have massive respect for them."
It will be the first time this season that Young has had a full squad of players to choose from and the trio who helped the Barbarians beat the All Blacks at Twickenham at the weekend, Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Andy Powell, will all be available to face Toulouse.