European Rugby Challenge Cup: Exeter Chiefs' Henry Slade relishing continental adventure
Last Updated: 11/06/14 11:19am
Exeter Chiefs ace Henry Slade is relishing another exciting continental adventure when the new European Rugby Challenge Cup gets underway next season.
The Chiefs have been drawn alongside Bayonne, La Rochelle and Connacht in Pool 2, a group that provides plenty of challenges, but also some intriguing away trips for the Aviva Premiership outfit.
Slade admits the group will be tough, but he is buzzing for the test ahead.
The 21-year-old fly-half said: "It's a tough group, as always. We've played Connacht a couple of times in pre-season and that's always been a difficult game for us.
It will be good to mix things up with some good trips away and tough matches against some top sides. There's definitely a different buzz about mixing it up and coming up against boys that you're not used to playing against.
“Bayonne have got some big-name players so they'll be a big test, and La Rochelle will be a great way to break up the domestic season.
"It will be good to mix things up with some good trips away and tough matches against some top sides. There's definitely a different buzz about mixing it up and coming up against boys that you're not used to playing against.
"Galway is definitely a difficult place to play. As well as Connacht being a good side, going out to Galway is going to be tough. We've played them before but this time it will be completely different as there will be something on the line.”
The Chiefs made their debut in the European Challenge Cup in 2011/12, making their way to the quarter-finals where they lost to Stade Francais, and have since featured in the Heineken Cup in the last two seasons, although they have not progressed out of the group stage.
Slade added: "As a squad we're pretty close so playing in tough environments like that will bring the best out of us. Because we've only recently been involved in European competitions, the fans get really excited by it and so do the boys. We relish every time we get to play European rugby at Sandy Park.
"We've had a few games away in France before and we've had great support. When we played Toulon away last year I think we had over 1,000 supporters come out.
"For them as much as us, going to France is a great thing. They love to come out and follow us and we love having them do that as their support spurs us on.”