Zebre flanker Nicola Belardo admits he is desperate to earn a birthday selection for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Edinburgh after making his debut in last week’s defeat to Connacht.
Belardo replaced Filippo Cristiano for the last ten minutes of the 30-17 reverse at home to Eric Elwood’s side, completing his transition from the Italian Super 10 to the RaboDirect PRO12.
And the 21-year-old revealed that he has got a taste for the highest level and plans on putting pressure on his more experienced teammates for a starting spot.
He said: “It was a great experience for me against Connacht and I achieved my objective of playing in the PRO12.
“Even though I only played the last ten minutes I’ve now got my debut under my belt.
“At the moment there is a mixture of experience and younger players in the squad but everyone has to do all they can to earn a place in the starting line-up.
“It’s very difficult for me with people like Mauro Bergamasco, Filippo Cristiano and Nicola Cattina but I will work hard.
“We can be pleased with our performance against Connacht but we know we can improve and we are starting to see what real rugby is.
“I just want to make sure I am involved against Edinburgh in the next game and hopefully we will be able to express ourselves out there.”