Redpath not worried about "underdogs" tag
July 20, 2011
Redpath will hope to lead Gloucester to a maiden Heineken Cup final in 2012 © Getty Images
Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath is relishing the challenge of facing Top 14 champions Toulouse in the opening round of the 2011-12 Heineken Cup.
The Cherry and Whites have been drawn in Pool 6 of Europe's premier tournament alongside Premiership rival's Harlequins and debutants Connacht, along with the French champions. Despite facing a baptism of fire in the competition on November 13, Redpath insists his side will enjoy their tag as underdogs rather than fear their French counterparts.
"It's great for us as no-one will think about us challenging Toulouse," Redpath told BBC Gloucestershire. "But I'm sure we can. I don't think anyone will be going in thinking they are the favourites so you can't win against them."
Gloucester enjoyed a successful 2010-11 campaign finishing third in the Aviva Premiership while also taking the 2011 Anglo-Welsh title. However, at the end of the 2011 season they bid farewell to three internationals in the guise of England's Paul Doran-Jones and Dave Attwood along with Welsh fly-half Nicky Robinson. Despite their loss of personnel, Redpath is looking forward to seeing his side play against the cream of European rugby.
"It's important for the three sides - Connacht, Quins and Gloucester - to fight it out and make sure we are giving ourselves a chance to compete [against Toulouse]," Redpath said. "That first game away is massive. You can't really plan as it's a long way ahead but you know you've got a very big one to start off and then Quins the week after.
"It's always tough in France, no matter who you are. This is the Champions League of rugby. To play against one of the best sides in Europe from the past decade is a great challenge that we are looking forward to."
Toulouse have recruited heavily for the 2011-12 season in a bid to win their first Heineken Cup since 2010. They have signed Waratahs scrum-half Luke Burgess, All Blacks centre Luke McAlister and French fly-half Lionel Beauxis amongst others.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"When Mike Burton was sent off I thought the world had gone crazy - just Pommy bashing, hitting anyone." Behind the Rose heads back to 1975
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes