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Mike Blair reacts to Edinburgh's heavyweight Champions Cup draw

By PA

Trending on RugbyPass

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Mike Blair is relishing more “memorable” occasions in Europe after Edinburgh were drawn alongside English Premiership side Saracens and French Top14 club Castres in the Heineken Champions Cup.

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The men from the Scottish capital will face the English and French domestic runners-up home and away in the group stages in December and January following Tuesday’s draw at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

Head coach Blair, whose side reached the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup last term, told Edinburgh’s website: “First and foremost, it’s absolutely brilliant to see Champions Cup rugby back in Edinburgh.

“As a club, we’ve had some memorable days in European rugby’s top competition and so to host both Saracens and Castres at DAM Health Stadium will be a massive occasion for the city and our supporters.”

Blair admits Edinburgh will be up against formidable opponents, with both sides challenging for their respective league titles last term.

“As a group, we always want to test ourselves against the best teams in Europe,” said Blair. “That’s why we train every day and that’s why we work tirelessly throughout the season.

“It will be a fantastic opportunity for our squad to play at home and away against two clubs that had brilliant seasons in 2021-22.

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“Although both Saracens and Castres were runners-up in their respective domestic competitions, they both put together terrific seasons and on another day, we could be facing two champions in this year’s competition.

“Saracens are of course a team we know well having played them down in London in last season’s Challenge Cup. It will be brilliant to welcome them to the Scottish capital for what should be a mouth-watering rematch.

“Champions Cup rugby is always a special occasion and I can’t wait to see our fans pack out DAM Health Stadium for two massive European matches. Our squad will be fired up and ready to represent the city and our fans at Europe’s top table.”

Glasgow, meanwhile, have been drawn to face Perpignan and Bath in the pool stages of the 2022-23 EPCR Challenge Cup, as the Scotstoun club compete in Pool A of the competition.

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It will be the first time that the Warriors have entered the Challenge Cup at the pool stage since the 2006-07 season.

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