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Humphreys excited for European challenge

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Gloucester’s director of rugby David Humphreys insists there is no such thing as a simple draw in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, and believes his side will have a tough fight this season.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby side will face La Rochelle, Bayonne and Benetton Treviso in this year’s competition as they attempt to emulate their success of two seasons ago.

And Humphreys, who led his side to eighth in the Aviva Premiership last time out, is desperate to avenge their disappointing title defence last year where they lost to Newport Gwent Dragons in the last eight.

"It is a competition that has brought us a lot of good memories over the course of the past two seasons, but obviously disappointed this year with the way it finished,” he said.

"The draw has got a lot of good teams in it compared to a few years ago. It's no longer a case of getting an easy draw but, for us, it is going to be a challenge.”

Gloucester faced La Rochelle at the same stage last season and won both times but Humphreys insists they won’t be taking anything for granted.

However, he is happy they avoided a potentially nasty trip to Russia or Romania, with all of their opponents close to England.

"In La Rochelle, a team we played last year and know well and two others who we haven't played for a long time so, early in preseason, it will get us really focused on next season,” he said.

"The way the completion is formatted, there was always going to be a chance we were going to get two French teams but, for us, France is pretty accessible and it is a place that we have enjoyed over the last couple of seasons and brought out the best in us in terms of our away performances."

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