Rhys Patchell excited for Super Rugby debut

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Patchell goes into the campaign having had a taste of pre-season play but knowing the real deal of Super Rugby Pacific begins at the weekend.

No one was showing too much of their hand in the warm-up games, and teams had been mixed up.

"Week one of the season is always exciting. And there's always a different feel to the first week of the season compared to pre-season weeks. The boys are excited and ready to get going, and hopefully, we put our best foot forward in front of our fans on Saturday night.

It will be his first experience of the stadium's notorious Zoo.

"I've been told it can get fairly lively which is awesome. That type of stuff makes an atmosphere."

Patchell will be working with Sam Gilbert outside him at second five-eighths.

"Sam is an unbelievable player. He's a great human and was super welcoming of me as a new player in the environment. He has all the attributes and is six-foot-plus, a big human with a big frame who carries his weight well, runs his weight and is a ball player who also kicks. He does it all.

"I'm looking forward to getting alongside him and trying to help him because he's trying to help the team. Sometimes, people like that can forget to look after themselves as well.

"He's a legend  and I'm looking forward to continuing to build a relationship with him on the field."

Both are goal-kickers, but Patchell said it didn't matter who was responsible for kicking, he would continue to prepare each week as if it was his job.

"If Gilby has the tee, if Cam [Cameron Millar] has the tee, whoever has it, it doesn't make much of a difference to me. You have to remember I played the vast majority of my career with Lee Halfpenny. So you always prepare, but whoever has the tee will do a sterling job for the team."

Patchell won't be the only Welshman looking to make an impact in Dunedin; another former Wales flyhalf, Stephen Jones, is coaching with Moana Pasifika this year.

Jones and New Zealander Wayne Pivac were central to Patchell moving from Cardiff to their Scarlets side, and Jones coached him for three years.

"We had a bit of success, won the league, got to the semifinals of Europe and then he was with the national team."

They were neighbours and were often in touch with each other.

"He's an awesome human, a top guy with clear views about how he sees the game, and I enjoyed working with him.

"The way he views the game is potentially fairly different from how the Moana Pasifika team views the game, which is awesome because everybody has to learn and adapt to each other.

Taught up with him after the pre-season friendly. He absolutely loves it here. He loves the boys, loves the environment, loves the team, loves the lifestyle and his family seems to be settling in as well."

Head coach Clarke Dermody and director of coaching Jamie Joseph were coaches different from those he had worked with before and had found more of a desire around the team than he had encountered.