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 have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).