Home is where the heart is for Tom Youngs this season as he bids to lead Aviva Premiership Rugby’s Leicester Tigers back to the summit in Europe.
The Tigers have a proud record in European rugby’s premier competition, lifting the trophy twice and finishing runner-up on three other occasions.
However, after lifting back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002, the last final Leicester contested came seven years ago as they lost 19-16 to Leinster in Edinburgh.
Despite a barren few years on the continent, last season’s campaign showed what Leicester can do as they topped their pool, before beating Stade Francais at home to reach the final four.
Unfortunately that is where their adventure ended against eventual runners-up Racing 92, but as they prepare to do it all again in a pool containing their French conquerors, Glasgow Warriors and Munster, hooker Youngs is hoping to make Welford Road a fortress as they bid to go even further.
“We have got a tough group,” said Youngs. “We start with Glasgow away and then Toulon away so that is a tough test for us all.
“I think it is really important to get wins at home and then pick up as many wins away as you can. We got a few last year and Munster away was a great result.
“We have Munster again this season in back-to-back games over the Christmas period and I think that will be really important.
“It is all about getting out of your group and then getting a quarter-final at home gives you the best chance of kicking on to the semi-finals and final.”
Should Youngs lead Leicester all the way to the title, he would follow in the footsteps of Martin Johnson, who captained the Tigers to their two successes at the beginning of the millennium.
“There is a huge history at this club in Europe and you think of all those captains who have lifted the trophy,” Youngs added.
“I am very honoured to lead the boys out on the big stage. Europe is huge and something we all get very excited about.
“The dynamic of the week really changes and we are all looking forward to getting going against Glasgow Warriors and starting well.”
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