Wasps reaction to European draw
Dai Young and Chris Bell give their reaction to the European Rugby Champions Cup draw.
Following today’s draw for the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup, Wasps’ Director of Rugby, Dai Young, gave his reaction to being drawn in Pool 2 against Leinster, Castres and Harlequins:
“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.”
“Our performances against Stade Français showed what we are capable of on our day, even against the bigger squads in Europe, and those performances will give us plenty of self-belief going into the new season.”
Centre Chris Bell, who skippered Wasps to back-to-back wins against Stade Francais in the 7th place European play-off, said:
“I was watching the draw at Twyford Avenue with the backroom team and it was really exciting waiting for our name to be drawn. There are 20 incredibly strong teams, so we knew it would be a tough pool whichever teams we are against, but it’s a hugely exciting challenge."
“Leinster are very strong, they won the Pro 12 and have a great European heritage, while Castres have really been pulling up trees in the French league and just got pipped in the Top 14 Final. We obviously know Quins very well and have a lot of respect for them. That will be a very short away trip!"
“Without a doubt this is where we all want to be and we’re really happy that our supporters will be able to watch Wasps back in the top tier of Europe after showing us fantastic support over the last few years. It will be a big step up from the Challenge Cup, but we will prepare well. It’s an opportunity we’ve worked hard for and we will try to grab it with both hands.”
2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup
Pool 1: Saracens, Munster Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Sale Sharks
Pool 2: Leinster Rugby, Castres Olympique, Harlequins, London Wasps
Pool 3: RC Toulon, Leicester Tigers, Ulster Rugby, Scarlets
Pool 4: Glasgow Warriors, Montpellier, Bath Rugby, Toulouse
Pool 5: Northampton Saints, Racing Metro 92, Ospreys, Benetton Treviso
2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup
Pool 1: Cardiff Blues, London Irish, Grenoble, FIRA-AER 1
Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs, Bayonne, Connacht Rugby, La Rochelle
Pool 3: Stade Francais Paris, NG Dragons, Newcastle Falcons, FIRA-AER 2
Pool 4: Edinburgh Rugby, Bordeaux-Begles, London Welsh, Lyon
Pool 5: Gloucester Rugby, Brive, Zebre, Oyonnax
Pool stage dates
Round 1: 16/17/18/19 October 2014
Round 2: 23/24/25/26 October 2014
Round 3: 4/5/6/7 December 2014
Round 4: 11/12/13/14 December 2014
Round 5: 15/16/17/18 January 2015
Round 6: 22/23/24/25 January 2015