Redpath urges Sharks to embrace the big time
July 31, 2012
Sharks boss Bryan Redpath has thrown down the gauntlet to his side © Getty Images
Sale boss Bryan Redpath has thrown down the gauntlet to his side ahead of their return to the Heineken Cup.
The Sharks return to Europe's premier club competition later this year after a three-season absence but face a stiff challenge to make an impression with the likes of French heavyweights Toulon and Montpellier and PRO12 side the Cardiff Blues joining them in Pool 6 of the eagerly-awaited competition. However, Redpath has urged his side to embrace the challenge and reminded his players that it may be the biggest stage they will ever play on.
""The big thing about the Heineken Cup is that it is some people's equivalent of playing internationals," Redpath told the Manchester Evening News. "Some people will never get to play international rugby, irrelevant of what they think about their ability. I played for the best part of 13 years and in all that time only really three people - myself, Gary Armstrong and Andy Nicol played scrum-half for Scotland. So there is not an abundance of opportunities for players at Test level - it's just the way it is.
"A lot of people say they want to play international rugby but they might never get the opportunity. So the Heineken Cup is the nearest thing they will get to it. It is the Champions League of European club rugby and you get to take on some of the best players from all over the world who take part in it. For many players that is their international career so they should relish the opportunity and make sure that they put their all into it and really enjoy the experience because it is a massive opportunity for them.
"My message to the guys is simple: don't be frightened of it, embrace it. It's what you play rugby for and lots of players move club simply in order to play Heineken Cup rugby, just as footballers move in order to play in the Champions League."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.