Montpellier are preparing for their first European Cup match on the road with captain Fulgence Ouedraogo aware they are on the steepest of learning curves after holding champions Leinster to a draw on their tournament debut.
Now it is former champions Bath at the Recreation Ground on the agenda for the newcomers with Ouedraogo admitting: "There is nothing like Heineken Cup games to help us progress, to be even more diligent and to gain experience.
"Our second game promises to be even tougher than last Saturday's in the sense that we travel to an English club we know to be highly motivated and, with the final being held at Twickenham Stadium, they are ambitious and will want to qualify for the knock-out stages," he said.
Ouedraogo has plenty of respect for Bath, who boast a number of players with international experience and should be a fearsome prospect on their home turf.
He commented: "They have lots of great international players such as Matt Banahan, Lewis Moody, Lee Mears and Simon Taylor, and, as it is an away game, we know it is going to be extremely challenging. They also have a new recruit in All Black Stephen Donald who will add to an already rich group.
"We know the overall quality of their squad and that by taking part in the Heineken Cup we would face the best teams in Europe so with Leinster last Saturday and then Bath to follow, we are certainly doing just that from the very start," he pointed out.
Montpellier had their hearts broken when a last-gasp Jonathon Sexton penalty salvaged a dramatic 16-16 draw for the defending champions last week and Ouedraogo admitted that his side were left deflated after the cruel late twist.
He said: "We are disappointed not to win our first Heineken Cup fixture. It was a big moment for us, we moved to Stade de la Mosson for the occasion, and we were close to a win so it was very frustrating."
The Montpellier skipper said that the experience had shown his team that they have a lot to learn if they want to be competitive at this level and has called for more killer instinct when they travel to Bath.
"Now we realise the difference between a champion club used to those big games and ourselves, who still need to learn. It comes down to the small details that they master, they have a bigger intensity in the way they play and maintain that pace until the very end. Perhaps we are guilty of having relaxed too early.
"We couldn't convert our actions into points and finish off our phases, which at times were very long. And against a team like Leinster you pay a hefty price for not being thorough. They didn't flinch at any point and played at full speed all the time – they even increased the rate towards the end and it was hard for us to stay with them," he explained.
However, despite the disappointment of that result Ouedraogo said that his young side could also take great heart from the way they acquitted themselves against Leinster.
"Our young team managed to stand up to them and measure up to their players and we will have to build on that performance.
"Our ambitions are definitely there and when you are given the opportunity to compete in the Heineken Cup you really want to do well in it. It is a very important tournament for the clubs and when you see the extent of its coverage and how it is seen across Europe and beyond it gives a different dimension to the clubs," he added.
The Montpellier captain explained that his side has targeted an impressive performance in the Heineken Cup this season as a way to announce themselves on the European stage.
He said: "Nobody wants to let go during this fierce competition, all the points are so precious, and we want our club to develop and enjoy a new boom. For that to happen we must shine on the European stage.
"Everybody tells us that the Heineken Cup is the step just below international level in terms of intensity and quality so that can only benefit us."
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