We WERE delighted to get the win last week against the Dragons. After the draw against Scarlets, when we fought back in the second half and could have won that game, then the away defeat by a very good Ulster team, when we had a sin-binning that effectively ended the game for us, we came back out last week and showed both character and composure.
At half-time, 6-0 up, they scored pretty much straight away, so for the boys to come back and win showed some strength. Without a doubt we left a few tries out there, including two tries that went to the TMO, but we were really delighted that the boys came through and managed to achieve the win.
It was important that we performed well, not just for ourselves but for our supporters. We are really looking forward to this week. It’s a different competition and I think there’s a different edge to European rugby. I would say we’re in a tough pool.
Bordeaux have started this season by comprehensively defeating two of the best French Top 14 sides. They beat Clermont convincingly at home by 50-odd points and backed that up at the weekend by beating Castres by a similar margin.
There’s no doubt it is a tough challenge for us, but it is good to go into the game on the back of Saturday’s win.
I was involved in the European Cup as a player so I know it’s exciting, it’s a good competition and I reckon playing in France is special. The supporters can be very intimidating and they’re very knowledgeable about the game.
They certainly know their rugby and are passionate about it.
For all the players, and especially those who haven’t played here before, it will be a really valuable experience.
We’ve had a busy week training and also held a Young Gunners camp alongside this, at BT Murrayfield. More than 200 youngsters came along for the full-day event, and it was fantastic to see the back pitches at the stadium filled with the next generation of rugby talent, training alongside our professional players.
It’s great to see how much the kids get out of days like these, playing mini games on the pitch next to the team and having them watch them, then meeting the whole squad to get photos and autographs. It works both ways, too, as the players appreciate the support that these youngsters are giving them, week in week out.
Who knows, in a few years’ time, some of these youngsters may be the ones arriving in France, anticipating their first European fixture.