Steven Shingler: Fly-half settling in at Cardiff Blues after Scarlets switch
Fly-half Steven Shingler admits it was a "huge" decision to leave Scarlets for Welsh rivals Cardiff Blues.
The 25-year-old fly-half moved at the end of the 2015-16 season following Rhys Patchell's decision to switch to Parc y Scarlets from the Blues.
But uncapped Shingler, a lifelong Scarlets supporter, says he is getting used to being a Blue.
"It did feel strange putting the top on first of all four weeks ago but the move has sunk in," he said.
"I've got to know the players and the squad and feel a bit more of a Blues player now.
"It was huge, a huge decision and I gave it a lot of thought over a couple of months.
"I just thought that the way that the Blues were going was good, and who they were recruiting because I was lucky to see who was in front of me being recruited.
"I'd seen [Blues head coach] Danny Wilson was on a long-term contract so it was all positive really - the only negative was leaving my home region essentially where I'd been playing with a lot of life-long friends and my brother."
The Patchell question
It was suggested that Patchell's decision to move to West Wales to pursue his ambition of playing regularly at fly-half was the trigger for Shingler's switch.
The player himself acknowledges taking notice of his rivals for selection, but suggests the decision was more complicated.
"For a player you always look who's in your position.
"Patchell was coming down (to Scarlets) Gareth Anscombe was in the Blues, Jarrod Evans in the Blues, Dan Jones and Aled Thomas were in the Scarlets.
"So it was very neutral, it came down to the club really. The travelling wasn't a factor so it was all about the club and which club I thought was heading in the right direction and the Blues just edged it for me."
Shingler is a former Wales Under-20 fly-half who was named in Scotland's senior squad for the 2012 Six Nations when he was playing for London Irish.
That led to a dispute between Scotland and Wales with the sport's governing body ruling that his age-group appearance for Wales meant he could not play for the Scots.
He has twice been named in senior Wales touring squads since, but has yet to play.
"I very rarely think about it. It's five or six years ago which I associate with London now, rather than Wales," said Shingler.
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"I was in a different situation then, and I've been away to Japan and South Africa on tours which I enjoyed.
"I Just want to be the best player I can be and win lots of games.
"The accolades of playing well for your team comes with international honours potentially so the short term focus for me is playing well for the Blues and if anything happens off the back of that brilliant, but it's getting in that starting squad, then the starting XV and then go from there."
A family affair
Friday, 26 October is a red letter day in the Shingler household - when Blues play Scarlets at Cardiff Arms Park and Steven will play against older brother Aaron - a Scarlets flanker - for the second time in his career.
The first was a Wales Possibles v Probables trial match in 2014 when Steven admits he spent most of his time "chasing the ball and lining up for conversions".
"We've already had a bit of banter - hopefully we can cross horns and I can get one over him," he added.
"I've already had a chat with my parents about who're they're supporting and they're with the Scarlets at the moment, so I'll have to try and convince them that I'm the favourite son."