Redpath primed for Toulouse challenge
November 12, 2011
Mike Tindall will hope to make an impact on the pitch for all the right reasons © Getty Images
Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath is adamant his side are ready for their opening clash of the Heineken Cup against what he describes as "probably the best side in European history."
Axed England star Mike Tindall will be in action for his club barely 48 hours after being kicked out of England's elite squad by the Rugby Football Union and fined £25,000. He has paid a hefty price for events at a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand during England's recent failed World Cup campaign.
Tindall, 33, was captured on CCTV footage from the Altitude Bar in conversation with a woman. He later later issued an apology for misleading the England management over his movements that night. Tindall initially claimed he did not go on to another bar.
Tindall, though, has little time to reflect on the RFU's action, having been named to start at inside centre against Gloucester's opening Pool Six opponents and four-time Heineken Cup winners Toulouse in France.
"They (Toulouse) are probably the best side in European history," Redpath said. "So, you have to go there and you have to make sure your mindset is right.
"The expectation on us is very low, but internally, we know that we have to be dogged and confident in ourselves and have a real go at them. There is no point going there and sitting back and waiting for them to have a go at you.
"We have to keep possession in the right areas, avoid loose kicks and soft turnovers and maintain the intensity we've shown in the past two weeks. It's an exciting place to go to, a great place to play rugby and our players should be thriving on it and not fearing it."
Gloucester's West Country rivals Bath are also on the road tomorrow, beginning their Heineken programme away to Glasgow in Pool Three, a group that also features reigning European champions Leinster. England international Matt Banahan returns for Bath, partnering Dan Hipkiss in midfield, while there are also opportunities for wing Olly Woodburn, fly-half Tom Heathcote and hooker Ross Batty.
And there is a place on the bench for New Zealander Stephen Donald, whose second-half penalty edged an 8-7 World Cup final victory for the All Blacks over France in Auckland three weeks ago.
Another World Cup winner, former South Africa skipper John Smit, is set to make his Saracens debut against Pool Five visitors Treviso tomorrow. The ex-Springboks hooker is among Saracens' replacements, while players returning to the starting line-up include Matt Stevens, Rhys Gill and Andy Saull.
"The Heineken Cup is a magnificent competition and one in which we want to do well," Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said. "History tells us the more experienced teams tend to be the most successful in this competition, and it is our aim to be competing with the likes of Leinster, Toulouse and Munster to be the best in Europe."
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