Nallet - Pressure on Wasps
Castres Olympique captain Lionel Nallet insists his side go into their clash with London Wasps without pressure.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 06/10/08 1:23pm
Castres Olympique captain Lionel Nallet insists his side go into their Heineken Cup clash with London Wasps without pressure.
The French club face Wasps on Sunday as their European campaign gets under way and Nallet is relishing the prospect of facing one the top sides on the continent.
Although Nallet admitted his Castres side face a difficult opener against the double European cup winners, the France skipper insists these matches are the ones French teams love to play.
"The French clubs try to finish within the top six domestically to qualify for the Heineken Cup so that just shows how popular this tournament is and how they all want to face the best European teams," Nallet said.
"London Wasps are one of those major teams and playing them in the first round will certainly throw us straight in at the deep end.
"On top of that we will be playing away from home so we will approach the game with modesty, without any great pressure and largely trying to gain confidence.
"As for their players, they have several big internationals in their squad and the danger can really come from all angles.
"They are solid up front and their backs are good too - Wasps are a typically strong, complete European team who show good qualities right across the field."
Nallet squares off in the captaincy stakes against fellow Frenchman and former Les Bleus skipper Raphael Ibanez, but the Castres man is more concerned with his side returning to form than winning a dual with his predecessor.
"Our main objective this season is to find some confidence again and reassure ourselves against the best European teams considering our poor start in the Top 14," Nallet said.
"We need to prove we can achieve things in another tournament. We still have some bad habits that we need to change and the players need to work on that aspect.
"And we can do this without any great pressure because no-one expects us to achieve anything so we have no real obligation to get results.
"The players will take advantage of this competition and play without constraints and enjoy a more flexible style of play to express themselves and try things.
"We are in a very 'spicy' Pool but, when you play in the Heineken Cup, facing major teams is just what you can expect - it is always interesting to play in those games and I must admit it is fantastic rugby."