Wales ace Adams confident Cardiff can test Toulouse despite the ‘mad scenario’

Josh Adams has experience when it comes to overcoming French opposition, so it checks out to hear the Cardiff winger approach Saturday's tumultuous test against Toulouse with fire in his belly.

It was during his maiden season at the Arms Park that Adams scored a hat-trick in a Challenge Cup win over Pau, less than two months after he helped Wales knock France out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

The circumstances surrounding Saturday's Champions Cup test against the European titleholders are a little more unique, with 32 of Cardiff's players still absent due to quarantine.

Dai Young's squad were recently stranded in South Africa after the country was added to the United Kingdom's red list for travel, with the majority of that travelling party now isolating at a Heathrow hotel.

With director of rugby Young among those currently absent, academy coach Gruff Rees has wrangled together a squad of seniors, semi-professionals and academy players for Saturday's game to go ahead against the odds.

“I don’t think there has ever been a scenario like this," Adams told reporters ahead of Cardiff's European bow. "Boys stuck in other countries unable to come home, quarantine, it’s a mad scenario really."

Fellow Welsh side Scarlets weren't as fortunate in their preparations, and with the vast majority of their squad still locked down in Belfast, made the decision to forfeit their Champions Cup trip to Bristol Bears.

It's a testament to the lengths Cardiff have gone to that the club still managed to assemble a 32-player group to face Toulouse, but few are under any illusions as to the sheer scale of the task ahead.

Nevertheless, 34-cap Adams has encouraged those summoned to play without fear, insisting all the pressure lies with the visitors as they look to begin their title defence with a win in the Welsh capital.

“I think it is important the lads who are behind who haven’t travelled to South Africa just bring a lot of excitement to this week as best we can, encourage the young academy boys who are training with us and go out there and play with no fear," he added.

“There is no pressure on us – I am sure everybody is expecting Toulouse to beat us – but within our little inner circle, we are quietly confident we can cause them problems."

The former Worcester Warrior insisted there's "certainly no doom and gloom" among those active players preparing for Saturday, particularly with so many hoping to seize a unique opportunity at this level.

What's your score prediction for Cardiff's Champions Cup clash with Toulouse? Let us know in the comments section.

Adams acknowledges the players present are all too aware of the chance they've been afforded to play at all considering the difficult situation many of their team-mates are still facing in quarantine.

Prior to the majority of the squad and staff departing South Africa, there were reports some among the group were suffering from 'panic attacks and serious mental health issues'.

That led to a reaction from some on social media suggesting that, as professional athletes, Cardiff were fortunate to be in the situation, but Adams tells another side of that story.

“Don’t get me wrong, we are in a very privileged position to do what we do, we are very lucky," he explained.

“But it doesn’t mean we’re robots and that none of us struggle with our own issues.

“Everyone has their own problems. Just because we’re professional rugby players doesn’t mean we can’t struggle with stuff like that.”

The ordeal could have been a lot worse for Adams, too, after his partner, Georgia, gave birth to their first child over the summer.

The 26-year-old missed the birth of daughter Lottie and didn't meet her until she was almost one month old following his participation on the British and Irish Lions tour.

He didn't return to South Africa last month as he was enjoying a post-autumn international respite, but he shudders to contemplate how he might have reacted had he been among the marooned contingent: “I haven’t wanted to think about it, to be honest.

"I don’t know how I would have been if I was out there.

“I’ve already been in the bubble for five weeks with Wales. To be gone again for another two to three weeks would have been incredibly difficult."

Cardiff are at least thankful one of the squad's most valuable talents is on hand to help their plight against Toulouse, and interim coach Rees is in daily contact with director Young ahead of the game.

Adams mentioned those preparing for the Champions Cup clash in Cardiff have also been doing their bit to "have a chuckle" and keep up morale for those still quarantining in London and Cape Town.

That includes antagonising locked-down team-mates with videos of them warming up with a game of football, a dream scenario for those in isolation while they're restricted to 30 minutes a day outside their hotel rooms.

Adams wouldn't reveal any intimate details of what goes on in the squad's channels, however: "If I told you anything that's in the players' WhatsApp group, that'd be the end of me."

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