Connacht play their 100th European match on Saturday and four times Heineken Cup champions Toulouse will be at the Sportsground in Galway to mark the special occasion.
After 98 matches in the Amlin Challenge Cup and last week's battling Heineken Cup debut at Harlequins, Connacht play their first home match in the tournament and it just happens to be against the most successful club in the 17-year history of the competition.
"Toulouse have been the best team in Europe for the last 17 years," Connacht and Ireland flank John Muldoon told ERC. "But getting ourselves up for these Heineken Cup games is not going to be hard – we are in the big competition now.
"We can't wait, we have been waiting for it all season. It would have been great to have got a result in the first round but we'll come out fighting, like we’ve always done. We had great support at Quins and hopefully we can give them something more to shout about this week.
"We are expecting 9,000 people to pack out the place. That will be the most we've ever had at the Sportsground and we are not expecting an easy atmosphere for them.
"We know small mistakes will cost us, though, and we also know that, if we switch off like we did in the latter part of the first half against Quins, Toulouse will put points on us. If we perform like we did in that period we could be down by 30 points.
"It was a very disappointed dressing room at the Stoop. We went to Quins with the belief that we could cause an upset and the game was in the balance until the end but the quality of Nick Evans showed through. He only missed one kick and, even with the penalties we gave away in our own half, his kicks to touch were superb. I think he was probably the deciding factor between the two teams.
"But we have moved on a lot. We’re sick of the old tap on the back and 'Well done, unlucky' or 'Great performance'. We're sick of it, but we're still somewhat there. Each year we're getting better and better but it's frustrating.
"On this occasion I felt we were the more entertaining team. I think we played the better style of rugby but Nick Evans kicked his goals. We can say we scored two tries to their one but he didn’t miss bar one kick so they deserved to win.
"We'll take a lot out of the game but a lot of people don't understand that we felt we could go there and win. We certainly feel like we left the result behind us."
Coach Eric Elwood added: "Our first Heineken Cup match was a great occasion and I don't think the boys were fazed by it. We were very positive about it being our first game in the Heineken Cup. We wanted everybody to embrace it and not to fear it. We wanted to face the challenge head on and I think we did that.
"All in all, for our first game in the competition, I think we opened people’s eyes. The challenge now is to back it up. That's the key.
"Everybody in the squad wants to play Toulouse. It'll be a full house and it's on TV. Hopefully the crowd will raise our spirits, increase our urgency and gives us something to go for.
"We all know the threats that Toulouse possess. We've got to focus on the defensive side of things as we were not at our best around the ruck area against Quins.
"In attack, it's just important to control what we can control and do the best we can because if we don't, we'll be in a bit of bother. People certainly aren't going to give us a chance against Toulouse, but that's the beauty of sport. The key for us is just to believe in what we're doing, believe in each other and be the best we can be."
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