Newcastle Falcons look ahead to a second successive weekend of facing up to a formidable French test as they travel to Montpellier on the back of a Round 1 victory over Bourgoin.
The 22-16 home win got them off to a flier in their bid to make the tournament knock-out stages for a sixth successive season but head coach Alan Tait knows the club in fourth place in the Top 14 – including wins over Toulouse and Racing Metro 92 – will be yet another step up.
For their part Montpellier went to Sandy Park in Round 1 to provide the opposition for Exeter Chiefs on their European debut and the French club went home with a 20-13 victory against the newcomers.
“Montpellier have all that forward power and scrummage well,” said Tait.
“And with them having home advantage I just want the boys to put in a performance, we know they are going to be very tough down there.
“They are playing really well, their results say it all and it will be a massive ask. We just have to wait and see how things pan out but if we can perform and put a Newcastle stamp on the game I will be pleased.
“Regardless of what competition you are in you go to play in France and it will be good experience for the youngsters and another challenge in their development.
“I’m delighted with the result we got against Bourgoin. The boys have been knocking at the door for a while and, although we have not got the results, we have been putting in good performances.
“Hopefully they will take confidence from the result and move it forward from there.”
Running the show against Bourgoin was “senior” back Jeremy Manning – while teenager Joel Hodgson took over at No 10 for the closing stages.
“Jeremy at 25-years-old was left in charge of the boys,” said Tait. “He is one of our most experienced players and I wanted a big game from him.
“He guided the ship well and did a good job – and then Joel came on to make his debut. He also did a good job and scored the third try in what was probably our best play of the game.
“All in all it went well but at times we struggled with inexperience and made a meal of it in the end. However, they got the result and will take confidence from it.
“Winning breeds confidence and I’m glad we have got the win under our belts. I want to see the boys put in another performance next week.
“We know we have to keep building and I will probably stick with the same squad wherever we can.
“We played with two young guys up front who have only recently become professionals and with the injuries I’m really concerned.
“We are down to the bare minimum in the front row and only have five fit players in that area.”