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."
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).