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Heineken Cup Ready For Kick-off

Heineken Cup Ready For Kick-off


A new competition, a new start – or at least that’s what Newport are hoping.

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After six successive defeats in the Celtic League, albeit by narrow margins for the most part, the black and ambers are seeking a much needed boost in the Heineken Cup.

Some might see it as clutching at straws, but there are a few things going for Simon Raiwalui’s men as they head north to Edinburgh.

In three visits in the past to the Scottish capital they have won once, drawn another and lost by only two points. They have also won all three home games against them.

And wasn’t it the opening game of the Heineken Cup last season that inspired a great Newport victory over the then English Cup holders Newcastle Falcons?

Can lightening strike twice?

Certainly, Newport assistant coach Richard Hill thinks it can.

Not that it gets any easier.

After Edinburgh come mighty Toulouse next week and then London Irish.

“It’s a tough pool, but then they all are. This is the tournament everyone wants to be involved in and Newport have done well in the past few seasons,” said Hill.

“The players are full of enthusiasm and
commitment despite the run of defeats and we will travel to Edinburgh quietly confident of getting a result.

Certainly there will be nothing for the players to fear.”

Home victories over Bath, Toulouse and Newcastle have been the highlight of Newport’s Heineken Cup experience to date, but don’t rule out a reversal in recent form in Edinburgh.

“This group of players have been badly hurt by their lack of success. They are used to being winners and they will be doing everything in their power to return to winning ways this weekend,” added Hill.

“We are viewing the Heineken Cup as a chance to start afresh. The Celtic League has been a warm-up for the main action of the season.

“The players have got more used to each other and the slight changes Leigh Jones and I have introduced as coaches have started to bed in.

“We’ve improved in every game and now we are looking to nail that first win.”

Can the Black and Ambers turn around their shocking start to the season by performing at the highest level? – only time will tell…

What do you think? Have your say on the wru.co.uk message board…

Tomorrow we take a look at Swansea…

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