Hastings: Heineken Cup Draw Suits Edinburgh

ImageGavin Hastings welcomed the news that Edinburgh will face both English champions, London Wasps and Magners League title winners, Leinster in the Pool stages of next season's Heineken Cup.

Despite finishing fourth in the Magners League last season, Edinburgh were placed amongst the bottom seeds for the Heineken Cup draw which took place in Dublin on Tuesday (17 June).

As a result, Edinburgh were grouped together alongside Wasps, Leinster and French club Castres in Pool Two; an outcome which was met with excitement from chairman Hastings.

Hastings said: "It is going to be tremendous to get the best teams in Europe coming to Murrayfield and I"m really excited about what we can achieve in the Heineken Cup next season.

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"Both Wasps and Leinster have been very competitive over the years and I think that augurs well for a real challenge in the Heineken Cup during the forthcoming season.

"But both those teams will realise Edinburgh can be very competitive, particularly in the games at Murrayfield after being on the receiving end of losses over the past few years."

In order to progress through to the knock-out stages for the first time since 2004, Hastings acknowledges Edinburgh must win on their travels in Pool Two, but he believes the form shown away from home over recent months will stand the team in good stead.

He added: 'the players know that, if we want to progress, we are going to have to win away from home; it is as simple as that.

'the wins at the Ospreys and Scarlets late last season supplemented by Scotland's final result in Argentina will hopefully give the players the confidence to be able to win away from home.

'this is a pretty tough Pool and I"m sure there are some other Pools which would be considered easier.

"But it is important that we challenge ourselves and we are never going to win anything unless we challenge the best teams.

"My feeling is that we have to go out there and win all our home games and hopefully get one or two away victories.

"It is the sort of Pool where any team can beat any other team, particularly when they have home advantage.

"Wasps and Leinster have both tasted defeat at Murrayfield over recent seasons, so they are not going to take Edinburgh lightly by any means.

"Castres are slightly different in that respect and perhaps an unknown quantity."

On the topic of players set to play a key role in Edinburgh's Heineken Cup adventure, Hastings singled out Scotland new boy Ben Cairns

He said: "I think Ben has taken his club form onto the international stage. He was an outstanding player for Edinburgh last season and I think he has shown he is a player with great potential.

"It is always pleasing to see a player progress from the domestic scene into international rugby and it is great that Ben managed to do that. That will have helped his confidence levels."

Another player who has caught the former Lions and Scotland captain's eye is stand-off Phil Godman and Hastings believes the 26-year-old has evolved into a genuine talent.

He said: "I think Phil has really come of age in the past nine months. He has produced some memorable performances in an Edinburgh jersey and it is great to see him get a start for Scotland last weekend.

"All these guys realise that next season will be tough, but they have just got to keep it going; that is what makes teams like Wasps the stand-out teams at the highest level.

"Edinburgh has got a great opportunity to progress from last season's achievements and it augurs well for the forthcoming Heineken Cup campaign."