Saracens and England winger David Strettle is eagerly anticipating the 2013/14 Heineken Cup following the pool draw for the competition earlier this week.
Speaking from Salta, Argentina where Strettle along with Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth is part of the England squad touring South America, he spoke of his excitement for this year’s competition after Saracens were drawn in pool 3 alongside Stade Toulousain, Connacht Rugby and Zebre Rugby.
“The Heineken Cup is of massive importance to us a cub and I know that as players it is something that we look forward to immensely” explained the England flyer.
“Getting to semi-finals was an achievement for us last season, and we were bitterly disappointed to lose out to Toulon.
“We have been making strides in the competition and hopefully if you look at the trend over the last few years we could be in a final come May 2014; but we are under no illusions that the draw has handed us some tough trips away from home.
“Stade Toulousain are Heineken Cup royalty; they’ve won it four times, and have been beaten finalists twice, so there is certainly no question of their European pedigree in my opinion.”
“Going to the Galway Sportsgrounds is always a tough ask,” Strettle explained.
“Connacht will ask us plenty of questions and they have been accumulating more and more experience at this level in recent years, so we’ll have to be on our guard when we come up against them.”
“In regards to Zebre; Italian rugby has come on leaps and bounds in recent times, and if you look at their upturn in the International arena, one could say the bedrock of that improvement has been their domestic sides becoming more and more competitive in European competitions such as the Heineken Cup.
“We’re looking forward to tackling these challenges head on, and it is one that I’m particularly looking forward to as the Heineken Cup is the pinnacle of club rugby, and it’s a competition we would love to do well in.
“We’ve accumulated some great memories in the Heineken Cup.
“We’ve had great times at places such as Limerick, Twickenham and Brussels, so we want to make some more this time around; as there’s a sense of unfinished business within the group regarding our European performances.”