Bath Rugby captain Matt Garvey is relishing the return of Heineken Champions Cup rugby, after the Club were paired with Leinster, Wasps and Toulouse in the draw in Lausanne yesterday.
The Blue, Black and White met both Leinster and Wasps in the group stages of the competition three years ago, and will face Toulouse for the first time since beating the French Top 14 outfit 35-18 in the 2014/15 season.
“I think it’s a really exciting draw," Garvey said. There are teams we’re quite familiar with – we’ve played Leinster a few times over the last couple of years, Wasps we prepare for each year and they’re always a tricky outfit to go up against. Then there’s Toulouse, who have been European giants for the last 10 years or so. We’ve got confidence, because in 2015, we went there and won.”
Garvey admits that many people will view Bath as the underdogs in Pool 1, but the 30-year-old believes that the squad has the capability and confidence to beat anyone on their day.
“You can look at positives and negatives in all of the groups. We’re going to go into it as underdogs, but we’ll take that and hopefully we can surprise a few people. We’re fully aware of the team that we can put out and the performances we can put together. Some people will look at Bath and target us, but that puts the pressure on them rather than us.
“If you want to compete in the top competitions which this Club does, you know that there’s going to be no easy games, so you’ve got to test yourself against the very best. To play against the current Pro14 champions (Leinster) is a great test for us to see where we are as a Club. We don’t want to just win one trophy, we want to go on and win multiple titles, so to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”
Bath have added the likes of Jamie Roberts, Joe Cokanasiga and Will Chudley to the squad for the new season and believes that the new recruits along with the injury returnees can help propel the Club to new heights over the course of the season.
“When you get new signings, it brings a fresh wave of momentum, ideas and excitement. We’ve also got players coming back to fitness who we haven’t had for a long period of time, which is equally important.
“People like Nathan Catt, Roko and boys like that who will come back and add a bit of intensity to training and it goes without saying what they can bring to the Bath Rugby team on matchdays. I’m looking forward to knuckling down with the boys in training and introduce them into what Bath Rugby is all about - I can’t wait to get started.”