European Rugby Champions Cup
We want to compete with 'the best of the best'
June 11, 2014
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The great and the good from the Premiership give their reaction to the European Rugby Champions Cup draw
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill: "Leicester always want to compete against the best of the best and that is what the new European Rugby Champions Cup is all about. We're looking forward to taking part in its first season and maintaining the club's proud tradition in European competition. I'm sure the Tigers supporters are already looking forward to some big European occasions at Welford Road and some exciting trips away with the team too. It is a very competitive group with Ulster, the Scarlets and Toulon who won the European Cup and French title this season. We've been to all three venues in recent seasons and know the strength of the challenge from each of them - and I'm sure they'll all be looking at Leicester and thinking the same thing."
Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder: "We haven't played Racing Metro before, and going to Paris will be an exciting challenge. Racing is an ambitious club and showed in their recent play-offs win away at Toulouse just how dangerous they can be. They have a squad packed with quality players and are strengthening even further over the summer. While Racing is a new opponent for us we know what to expect from the Ospreys. We had to work extremely hard for our results against them last season and it will be no different in 2014/15. Dan Biggar is a top goal kicker and Alun Wyn Jones is an outstanding captain and any side that has that number of internationals deserves to be respected. We haven't played Treviso for a few years, and it will be good to go back to Italy. But while that will be a good trip for the supporters we will have to make sure we keep our focus on the job in hand, which is to get a win over a team that beat Munster and ran Leinster and Ulster close on home turf in the Pro 12 last season."
London Wasps director of rugby, Dai Young: "We always knew it would be a tough pool after qualifying as bottom seed, but my initial reaction is one of excitement. We know it will be a massive challenge for us as a squad and rugby department, but it's the kind of challenge we are all really looking forward to. This is where we, the Club and our supporters want to be, playing in the top competition against the best teams in Europe. "Leinster speak for themselves in terms of quality. They have been one of the best teams in Europe over the last five or six years, while Castres are the second best team in France, with a big budget. We also know that our near neighbours, Harlequins, are a quality outfit. so it will be a challenge, but if you want to improve and get better, you have to challenge yourself against the best. I am excited for the players, the coaches and Wasps supporters."
Harlequins head coach John Kingston: "Playing a side like Leinster with their wonderful European pedigree of late is a really mouth-watering prospect and equally Castres, having reached the French Top 14 final this year and being French Champions the previous season, offers another great challenge for us. Our record against French sides recently has been very good and clearly the players will be very much looking forward to another massive Anglo-French match-up. The new structure of the competition will mean even more that every point is going to be vital and that each match is going to be massively competitive. All in all it's a really exciting draw and we're looking forward to it kicking off in earnest in October."
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