The captains of this year's Heieneken Cup teams line up at Murrayfield
The launch of the 14th Heineken Cup took place in Edinburgh on Monday, with the captains and coaches of the English, Welsh, Scottish and Italian sides taking to the Murrayfield turf, and eyeing a return for the final in May.
Over 17,000 tickets have been sold for the showpiece European occasion in the Scottish capital, and on the day that Scott Hastings was named as an Official Ambassador to the Heineken Cup Final, it was another great Scot who was eyeing European success at the end of the season.
Ian McGeechan, a former coach of the Scottish national side and current director of rugby at London Wasps, said he will be keeping an eye on more than just his own team's progress as Wasps chase a third title.
The Lions boss will pick his squad for the summer tour of South Africa based on the performances of the players at the very top level of competition and said: "The Heineken Cup will be the first real challenge for the players. You have to think differently in this tournament and I'll be watching all the games with great interest.
"The final will be another big occasion and a full Murrayfield would be quite special. With the new seeding system it's a very difficult tournament to call."
Leicester Tigers head coach Heyneke Meyer begins his first season of Heineken Cup rugby when his side welcome the Ospreys next Sunday, and the South African is fully aware of the importance of Europe's premier competition.
"We've got a long history in the Heineken Cup and one of the reasons I joined Leicester is because I'd love to win the Heineken Cup," said Meyer, who led the Bulls to Super 14 glory in 2007.
"There's a lot of pressure and expectation but we'll just focus on the first one and the rest will take care of itself. It would be unbelievable to win it but it's important to take it game by game and focus on the little things.
"What makes it so difficult is that there are no easy games and it's almost like a knockout competition. You need to win every single game and then go through the knock-out stages. It's a tough competition and you need to be at your best in every single game so I'm looking forward to that."
"In the last two or three years, the tournament has grown in stature, especially last season. Every game was on national TV in South Africa and there was a huge following. I think what makes it more special now is that a lot of South Africans are starting to play in the Heineken Cup. People do follow the players, they do follow the results and they realise that it's a great competition."
With more than 17,000 tickets already sold for the final, the long haul to Edinburgh starts with defending champions Munster hosting tournament newcomers Montauban on Friday night at the newly redeveloped Thomond Park.
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