On paper Sale Sharks’ European Rugby Champions Cup tasks is one of the toughest around, but that won’t stop captain Josh Beaumont from giving his all for the cause.
Sale Sharks snuck into Europe’s premier competition on the final day of the last Premiership season, a victory over Newcastle Falcons coupled with Harlequins losing at Exeter Chiefs seeing them finish sixth.
But there rewards could have been better as Sale now find themselves in Pool 3 with some of Europe’s toughest teams.
After an opening test at Scarlets this Saturday the Sharks then host French giants Toulon – who won the trophy for three consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2015 – before back-to-back clashes with defending champions Saracens.
However, while the challenge is certainly a tricky one, Beaumont admits he wouldn’t swap it for anything.
“It is a huge achievement for us to have gotten into this competition,” he said. “It is something we have played in over the years but it is every player’s aspirations to play in one of the biggest tournaments in the world.
“It is something we are massively looking forward to and it is kind of a reward for all the hard work we put in last season.
“We all know it is going to be tough. If you look at our group you’ve got the previous winners from the past three years in there.
“So it is going to be tough but it is a good challenge and we are going to go and give a good account of ourselves and see where we get to.
“Most pools you are going to get tough teams in it. We played Toulon a few years ago and they are a powerhouse, Saracens we are used to playing and they are European champions, and Scarlets are a good team.
“There are no easy games and we have to prepare fully for each and every one.”
This European Rugby Champions Cup campaign will also be a special one for Beaumont as he captains the side this year following the retirement of Dan Braid.
For Beaumont it will mark another memorable moment in a career that is only just getting started, and the new England man is champing at the bit to get going.
“It is great for the fans,” he added. “It is what they want, they want to see their team play in the biggest stadiums and there is no bigger stage than Toulon away.
“I am massively proud to be captain of Sale Sharks and to lead them into the biggest tournament makes the job even tougher but one I am looking forward to.
“I am looking forward to testing myself as we are as a team at that level.”
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the organiser of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition. Follow all the excitement of another thrilling season of European action at www.epcrugby.com