Brive targeting Heineken Cup quarter-finals

Simon Gillham, the English chief operating officer of French Top 14 outfit Brive, says that he is targeting a quarter-finals European Cup place as the 1997 champions return to the European fray after 11 seasons.

With champions Leinster also in pool six, Gillham is under no illusions but said he believed his men could get off to a flier at Llanelli Scarlets on Saturday.

“It’s an honour when you look at our three rivals. Scarlets, one of the best teams in Wales, are the weakest of the three on paper.

“After that, you have the European champions in Leinster with the legendary Brian O’Driscoll and finally London Irish, who are right up there in the English championship,” said Gillham.

“We know we are the minnows in this pool but we owe it to our supporters and to our sponsors to put up a good showing in a competition which we have been away from for more than ten years.”

“The players set themselves the quarters as their target back in the summer. That is the objective.


“We have put the Stade Francais match (a 16-44 loss) behind us.


“We are entirely focused on the European Cup,” he insisted.

Brive have lost five of their nine league outings this term but Gillham says the club can compete both on the domestic and the European front.

“We have good players for every position. We have a world champion hooker (Steve Thompson) and a European champion at fly half (Andy Goode). There are some big hitters in our team.

“We’ll definitely need a win away and to land three wins at our place (to advance).

“If we can do that that would be an achievement. It’s up to the players to see if they can rise to the challenge.”

Brive saw off Leicester Tigers in the 1997 final but then went down by a single point to Bath a year later and since then have not been able to force they way back to the same level.

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