AS EUROPEAN rugby returns to centre stage this weekend, you can bet the administrators of club rugby in England will be hoping for a strong showing from its sides in the Heineken Cup.

As the hiatus about the future of the competition continues, for the English clubs getting a team to the final, or even winning the competition, would give them a bit of credibility with their future negotiations.

I can’t see it all being sorted out before the end of this season, so it would make English clubs’ life a bit easier if they could get a team to the latter stages.

That said, you cannot see beyond the usual suspects in the competition this time.

I’d expect the Irish Leinster, Munster and Ulster to all be in there with a chance, while the English and French sides continue to batter the hell out of each other.

It’s also great to see the likes of Exeter making their debut in this competition.

You can really see something of Bath 30-35 years ago in the way the Chiefs are going about things and having the likes of Leinster visiting Devon, they will relish taking on the best.

It’s the Amlin Challenge Cup for Bath and I can’t see why they can’t do something special in this competition.

Once you get past the initial pool stage, it’s something you can definitely target as an opportunity to win some silverware and I would expect Bath’s management to be doing that.

As for Trowbridge, we’ve completed the first block of four fixtures and, while I was hoping for four wins, three plus bonus points in the others has been a decent return.

The next block is likely to prove altogether tough, with away games coming into play. It’s always the hallmark of any player in how they deal with adversity away from home.

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