There are few more intimidating centre partnerships in Europe than Jamie Roberts and Casey Laulala but that didn’t faze Glasgow Warriors’ Alex Dunbar who produced a man-of-the-match performance in the RaboDirect PRO12 victory at Firhill.
At just 21 Dunbar is part of the new generation of exciting Scottish backs, led by Warriors teammates Stuart Hogg and Duncan Weir, as he demonstrated by setting up two tries and made countless more line breaks against the Blues in a 31-3 win.
Dunbar started alongside long-time mentor Graeme Morrison in that game, and he admits he’s learned a lot from his experienced teammate.
And after that impressive display Dunbar earned himself a new contract with the Warriors which will take him through to May 2014.
He said: “I knew my contract extension was coming up in May so at that point I was trying to get a bit of game time and hopefully extend my contract by playing well.
“That happened so I’ve had a good couple of weeks.
“Graeme Morrison is a very experienced guy so during training throughout the season I’ve picked up bits and pieces.
“Mainly it’s been the communication and defensive reads that he’s helped me with, when to fly up or to drift across.
“Ball carrying is my game and Graeme is similar so just watching how he plays you can pick up a lot.
“There are leaders in the group but at the moment everyone is trying to chat and take on leadership roles.
“Maybe at first it was hard to pipe up. You have to think about how you phrase things because Graeme’s hugely experienced but the more I got to know the team the easier it was.”
Dunbar set up the final try last week for Colin Shaw, handing Glasgow a vital bonus point in the race for RaboDirect PRO12 play-off places.
But despite Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy and Keith Earls being potential opponents in the semi-finals, Dunbar insists his focus will remain on playing the Warriors way regardless of who he lines up against.
He added: “I don’t think I’d be nervous playing against the other centres in other play-offs teams.
They might be at the top of their game but there’s a mutual respect at the same time and I will go out to try and play.
“For Glasgow the plan wouldn’t be to go out and try to stop O’Driscoll, we’d more go out to play the Glasgow style.
“Our style is not being afraid to have a go. There is a lot of talent in the whole squad, everyone believes in themselves and everyone backs each other. Since I have been here it has always been like that, everyone plays what they see.
“The whole team’s always been confident. We have been fortunate enough to be up at the top of the table in the play-offs places in the last couple of games and that gives us confidence.
“The last couple of games I have been involved in everyone has been really vocal and when we have defended we have shut teams out and that makes it a lot easier when you attack.”