"I think it has a recipe to be a very good tournament. We are relishing coming down here and taking on the Dragons. We want to establish the pattern we play in the league in the Powergen Cup. We will be bringing down a very strong side because we want to win. We are always out to set the best standards, be it in the gym or on the rugby pitch so we are taking this competition very seriously."
The Celtic league champions, the Ospreys, lauch their assault on the Powergen cup with a tricky trip to Gloucester on Saturday. With Ospreys coach Sean Holley keeping his cards close to his chest. The West Wales region has a number of injury concerns despite the early stage of the season, and a trip to Kingsholm is a major challenge even wirth a fully fit squad.
"We are approaching the game against Gloucester with great trepidation and promise. It will be an exciting game for us and our fans. There is of course added interest for our coaching team with Gloucester being my old club, Bath being John Humphreys' old club and Bristol being Barry Williams's old club.
"The close proximity of the group in geographical terms also makes it interesting for the fans and we are lucky that we are playing against three fantastic English clubs. Kingsholm is a fantastic place to play though it will be a huge cauldron to put some of our young players into but at the same time it will give them the chance to prove themselves." said Holley.
Gloucester's Adam Balding said in response."Gloucester are taking this competition very seriously because if you win there is a quick route into the Heineken Cup and that is where we want to be. For us to win this competition and get into Europe would be a fantastic achievement.
"Playing the Ospreys will be a tough opener. I don't know that much about their side but it is pretty obvious it is going to be a difficult game. We will be putting everything into training this week to make sure we keep our unbeaten record this season. We have had a good start to the season and we want to keep that momentum going."
POWERGEN CUP - ROUND ONE
Newport Gwent Dragons v Leicester
Tigers Rodney Parade becomes the first venue outside England for a Powergen Cup tie as the Newport Gwent Dragons make their debut in the competition. The two teams have met just twice before in the European Cup with Leicester winning on both occasions: in December 2003 by a score of 34-3 at Welford Road, and on 24 January 2004 at Rodney Parade with a 26-20 victory in a match that was tied at 12-all seven minutes into the second half.
Bath Rugby v Bristol Rugby
The two sides have met on six previous occasions in the cup, including the final in 1984. Bristol's only success in those matches to date was
24-15 on their very first cup meeting at the Rec on 22 November 1975. The two have already met in the Premiership this season with Bristol winning a thriller 19-16 at Memorial Stadium on the opening weekend of the new season. Bristol also won the last time they visited the Rec: 30-19 in the Premiership on 24 November 2002.
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints
Worcester and Northampton have met only twice before in competition rugby, both occasions last season in the Premiership with the Warriors doing the double over their more fancied rivals: 17-6 at Franklin's Gardens in November and 21-19 in the return at Sixways on 30 April.
Gloucester v Ospreys
The teams have never clashed before, but Gloucester have met Welsh Opponents in European competitions on a dozen previous occasions only losing once: 12-62 at Swansea in October 1996. The reigning Celtic League champions the Ospreys have made only two previous visits to England in the European Cup; losing 29-20 to Leeds at Headingley in December 2003, and winning 46-19 against Harlequins at the Stoop a year later.
Cardiff Blues v Saracens
This is the first meeting between the two clubs, although Cardiff Blues have entertained English opponents twice before at the Arms Park in the European Cup - beating Sale 22-7 in January 2004 and losing 16-23 to Gloucester last December. Saracens have visited the Arms Park for a competition match once before: in October 2000 they lost 14-24 to Cardiff RFC in the pool stages of the European Cup.
London Irish v London Wasps
The two sides have met twice before in cup ties, both occasions being at the quarter-final stage in 1998 and 1999. Both matches were won by Wasps;
41-7 at the Avenue and 19-3 at Loftus Road. English champions London Wasps have actually won the last six matches they have played against London Irish - all in the Premiership with the last Exiles win over their nearby rivals being 31-17 at Madjeski Stadium in February 2002.
Leeds Tykes v Llanelli Scarlets
Leeds begin their defence of the Powergen Cup title they won at Twickenham in April. The two teams have never met before, however the Tykes have on three previous occasions hosted Welsh teams in European competition: they played Pontypridd twice at Headingley winning 30-27 in October 2001 and drawing 19-all at the venue in December 2002. Then in December 2003 Leeds entertained the Ospreys and won 29-20. Llanelli Scarlets, who were runners-up in last season's Celtic Cup, have played just two matches in England before and both by coincidence at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens ground: winning 18-9 in February 2004 and losing 3-25 there the following October.
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
The two sides have met three times before in the cup, twice at the semi-final stage and in the 2004 Powergen Cup final. Newcastle have won on all three occasions: 12-3 at Heywood Road in 1976 when they were known as Gosforth, 37-25 at Kingston Park in January 2001, and 37-33 in the final at Twickenham. Since that victory in the 2004 final the teams have clashed four times in the Premiership with the Falcons winning just one: 30-29 at Kingston Park in January 2005.