New Scarlets signing George Earle admits he is relishing the opportunity of testing himself at a more physical level – and insists he will not be intimidated by anyone.
The South African lock, who linked up with the squad at Parc y Scarlets this week as they prepare for their opening RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Leinster, signed a three-year contract in May.
With locks Dominic Day, Damian Welch and Lou Reed leaving the Llanelli-based region during the summer, and Pumas signing Tomas Vallejos not expected to arrive until mid-October, Earle’s physical presence in the boilerhouse could prove crucial in the season’s opening rounds.
“European rugby has a harder, more physical edge to it, which is how I like to play. I hope I will be able to mature as a player here,” said the 25-year-old.
“Scarlets’ brand of rugby attracted me. They are a superb, young team who like to play expansive and physical rugby.
“I like to carry and I like the physical challenge. You have got to break a team down physically before the glory boys can go out wide.”
Scarlets provided most of the Welsh backline last year, but it is has been the front five which has been their Achilles' heel in the big games over the past couple of years.
However, Earle brushed aside suggestions he is therefore under added pressure to provide a platform.
“I wouldn’t say I am experienced but I think I can bring something to the back and we can learn off each other,” he added.
“I have played a lot of Super 15 and have picked up many tricks of the trade. The attitude of being a good back is just standing back from no-one and having no respect for any of the opposing players.
“The backs will do the hard work and the front will do the hard work too, and you must combine them well because it is important to have that balance if you want to win.”