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Friday 9 December 2016

Nacewa to take it up a notch for Europe

Isa Nacewa
Isa Nacewa

"Everything just goes up a notch," said Isa Nacewa.

Leinster's new captain knows from his vast experience of the European Cup.

The speed quickens. The space squeezes. The muscles that flex are larger.

The margins for error are reduced. The need for points is increased in the second season of 20 clubs fighting it out for eight seats at the quarter-final table.

Ulster's Rory Best pointed out: "We've swapped Leicester Tigers for Saracens and RC Toulon for Toulouse.

"There's not much change there and that's what's so good about the new format," said the veteran hooker.

"By cutting four teams out of the old tournament, and removing some of the weaker teams, there are no dead rubber matches any more.

"Every game, every point counts," he emphasised.

Munster coach Anthony Foley has to handle more than the fever of The Champions Cup.

He has appointed newly Ireland-qualified back rower CJ Stander as his captain in light of Peter O'Mahony's knee injury in a Pool completed by Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers and opening round foes Benetton Treviso.

"We also have a good leadership group. It's important it's not a one-man show."

The dropping numbers in attendance and the fading of Munster's force in Europe has led to Foley calling for a renewed support.

"I think if we can re-establish Thomond Park as a fortress it will gives us a good solid footing to hopefully progress in this competition."

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