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."
Gary Jones of Glevum Windows and Conservatories recently visited Kingsholm Stadium and the Cherry and White supporter spoke exclusively to Gloucester Rugby TV after marking two decades as a box holder in the Stowford Press Stand at Kingsholm. A great feat!
Speaking to the local media this week during preseason, new hooker Richard Hibbard said he was really enjoying putting in the hard work and being back to full fitness ahead of the 2014-15 season with the Cherry and Whites.
Nick Walshe was unveiled as Gloucester's new Backs and Attack Coach this week and spoke to Simon Ward for the RFU.com podcast about his excitement at joining Gloucester and working with a new group of players.
Speaking after the Third Test defeat to New Zealand, Ben Morgan told RFU.com that the loss was a disappointing way to sign off the summer tour but that the England team know what they have to do to be successful.
At the end of a tour when there have been so many positives for England, fly half Freddie Burns, who will start the third Test against New Zealand, was clear that the whole squad are focussed on signing off with a memorable win when he spoke to RFU.com
Speaking to Steve Jones of RFU.com straight after the 27-28 defeat to New Zealand on Saturday, Billy Twelvetrees spoke of the frustration of a missed opportunity, but stressed that England would lick their wounds and bounce back.
Freddie Burns contributed 12 points in England's 20-15 defeat against New Zealand on Saturday but, speaking after the game to RFU.com, preferred to talk about the many positives in the performance from Stuart Lancaster's side.
Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan put in a great individual performance as England were just pipped by New Zealand by 20 points to 15 in Auckland on Saturday. He told Steve Jones of RFU.com that the team will be in good spirits going into the 2nd Test in Dunedin.
It's been marked in the diary since the spring, but rugby will be returning to Kingsholm on July 31st. The holders host the Premiership Rugby Sevens for the third consecutive year, and Dan Robson can't wait to get on the field with the new look squad.