Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Bryan Redpath attended the launch of the Heineken Cup at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on Tuesday and admitted that he was under no illusions as to the challenge awaiting Gloucester in Europe this season.
Gloucester have been drawn in Pool 2 along with Biarritz, Glasgow Warriors and Newport Gwent Dragons and Redpath admitted that there are no weak links.
"I think, as was said at the press conference, that it's a very tough competition. I know for a fact that Glasgow will be tough, they'll want to come down to Kingsholm and give a good account of themselves."
"Newport have a history with Gloucester going back a number of years and are always a tough opponent. I'm under no illusions on that score, they've been steadily improving."
"In recent years they've probably had a harder time of it than the other Welsh regions but they've got a good work ethic and team spirit coming through."
"Their results in the Magners League have been good so far and they gave us a tough game at home last year."
"They'll come to Kingsholm with nothing to lose which makes them dangerous. They work hard for each other and are tough to break down. It'll be tough."
"And Biarritz are a good side. They've moved up to third place in their table recently. Of course, you never really know with the French sides, how they'll travel etc, but the group will be a tough one."
"Europe does bring an extra bit of excitement. Anyone who has played in a Heineken game, home or away, knows there's a bit of extra spice to it."
"It's the Champions League of rugby and the one you want to be in. It's been a great tournament to date and amazing to think that it's the 15th season. It's flown past!"
"We want to do better than we have in the past. We had a quarter final against Munster but lost and there's no shame in that because they're a heck of a good side."
"But, you really have to strive to win your home games and try and pick up what you can away from home."
"We've not talked about last year's Heineken Cup too much, we're focussing on this year. It's obviously been all Guinness Premiership so far and we've had some good displays and some not so good."
"So, we're looking for a good one this weekend before opening against the Dragons next Friday. We'll have a short turnaround but we have to deal with that."
"To get to the later stages would mean a lot to us. There's no point just turning up to make the numbers. We have the potential but have to take our chances."
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.