Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips sees the absence of their Lions as a positive and a way to blood young, exciting talent on their tour of Japan.
Phillips is one of the new caps selected for the tour but is no newcomer when it comes to Scarlets rugby. He has made 71 appearances for the Scarlets but has had to play second-fiddle to former Welsh number one Matthew Rees for a lot of his time with the Scarlets.
Head Coach Robin McBryde has selected a young squad which includes a number of new caps for the two-test tour to Japan, Phillips went on to say: "It's a very fresh squad with a strong emphasis on young players coming through.
"The coaches made it clear from the very beginning that we weren't included just to ride the wave, we're all expected to bring something new to the squad and make our mark," he added.
Having such stiff competition at the Scarlets has meant that Phillips has spent a lot of his time on the bench but with the absence now of Matthew Rees it is between himself and Ken Owens for that No.2 jersey.
"Since joining the Scarlets I've faced tough competition but I really hope I can get more game time in the coming season.
"Myself and Ken [Owens] have played in the same position and on the same team for ten years or so now. I will try to push him as much as possible next season. I'd obviously like to be involved week in week out.
"I'd much rather be in this position knowing that there’s a very competitive group of hookers pushing each other than knowing that your guaranteed your place every week. Having to work that little bit harder at it ensures that we’re competitive in training and not sitting back and resting on our laurels," Phillips mentioned.
Japan are currently ranked 14th in the world and hooker Phillips believes they will be a tough challenge for Wales, he said: "We're not expecting them to be pushovers. It's going to be a tough challenge but that’s exactly what we want as a new squad.
"We want to win the games and we've set high targets for ourselves. I want as much game time as possible and hopefully will leave my mark," he remarked.