Burgess honoured to be playing in Heineken Cup

Toulouse and Harlequins – who are each setting the pace in their domestic tournaments – go head-to-head at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday night with the French club’s star summer signing Luke Burgess relishing a potential scrum half showdown with England’s Danny Care.

Burgess, who helped Australia claim third place at the recent World Cup in New Zealand, is already rapidly becoming a firm favourite with the fans of the four times Heineken Cup champions and the Rounds 3 and 4 contests between the two unbeaten Pool 6 clubs could potentially settle the group honours and with that automatic quarter-final qualification.

“I know that Harlequins are a great team,” said 28-year-old Burgess. “They are very physical and skilful – especially Danny Care, an extremely talented inside back.

“However, they also have players like Nick Evans and Nick Easter so all in all they are a very challenging squad to play against. I am sure it will be a great and very tough game and, as they are also in top spot in their domestic championship, it promises to be a huge clash.

“To stop them we will need to rise to the challenge and be physical. We need to get our basics right, be accurate and then the rest is about playing rugby and enjoying it.

“We play them back-to-back, which is interesting and a bit unusual, but I think a good thing. It allows you to correct your mistakes straight away for the second leg and keep your focus.

“In our first two rounds of the Heineken Cup I think we could have probably played better against Gloucester and Connacht, although it was good to win as they were tough teams and you have got to respect them.

“From a personal point of view, those first two experiences were great. My first game in Toulouse was wonderful and I enjoyed travelling to Connacht and now there is more to come in travelling to the Stoop on Friday. It should be good and after two games I have a clearer idea of the Heineken Cup.

“It is a great competition, renowned worldwide and it is an honour to be playing in it. It is extremely challenging and you get to experience different styles of rugby across the nations so it makes it a very interesting tournament.

“It is both very physical and very tactically challenging. It is also a little bit different from the Super 15 as the styles of rugby in the southern hemisphere are different – the collisions aren’t necessarily as big, the forward game isn’t the same and it is more physical up here.

“But I couldn’t have picked a better club to make my debut in Europe, Toulouse being such a reputable and wonderful club, a wonderful city with wonderful people. It’s awesome to be part of it.

“It is a reference in Europe, if not THE reference. I’ve had a month to settle in now and I’ve been learning the language and working really hard. I wanted to jump from one exciting event to another straight away after the World Cup and I have certainly done just that.

“It worked out perfectly time wise and it was important for me not to miss too much of this first season. It was vital to get started as soon as possible so it was good to get here and get stuck in.

“Every weekend is a big game for Toulouse, whether it is on the European stage or the Top 14, and we want to do well in all competitions, sharing our responsibilities and working together to produce the best we can each time.

“To a certain extent I feel some pressure, I have to prove myself in this new squad, and if you don’t play well you can quickly find yourself out of the team.”

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