Edinburgh prop Jack Gilding may had to bide his time for a taste of the Heineken Cup but the 23-year-old insists it was worth the wait after he helped his side defeat Cardiff Blues and surge to the top of Pool Two.
The 23-year-old, who made his RaboDirect PRO12 debut against Munster last month, came off the bench for his first game in Europe’s elite competition and lined up against Wales’ legendary prop Gethin Jenkins to see out a 19-12 victory.
And, after a taste of European action in the Amlin Challenge trophy with former club Worcester Warriors, the Plymouth-born forward admits it was a step up in class but is looking to experience more if the Gunners progress.
He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “For me European nights with Edinburgh have been a long time coming but it has been very positive around the club these last few weeks and I’m probably in the best shape I’ve ever been.
“It was perfect for me just to get on and into the thick of things. Making a tackle or getting the ball in your hands gets you straight in.
“You don’t have to think how you are going to contribute when opportunities like that arise.
“And I was delighted to get 20 minutes, a solid bit of time to put my mark on the game and put myself about.
“The Heineken Cup is a step up and I couldn’t ask for anything better than us beating Cardiff to put ourselves top of the group and in a position to go through.”
And Gilding is now looking to build on that performance in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a clash at home to Glasgow Warriors on Boxing Day.
“It was buoyant in the dressing room afterwards and we’ll take the positives into the league hopefully,” he said.
“We’ve got to be confident and I want to build on those outings with a crack at Glasgow on Boxing Day.”