Toulouse go into Saturday's landmark 15th Heineken Cup final against Biarritz Olympique at Stade de France on the back of a 21-13 Top 14 semi-final defeat by Perpignan at the weekend with Biarritz talisman Imanol Harinordoquy nevertheless declaring Toulouse have a bit of the All Blacks in them.
"Toulouse are a model of consistency," said the player at the heart of France's 2010 Grand Slam triumph. "In terms of squad, structure and results Toulouse are certainly the No 1 club in France - and probably Europe as well. I compare them slightly to the All Blacks, especially when you see their three-quarter play and how fast they react on the counter attack. On paper they are the favourites, and they are a team that we don't often beat, but I believe we can beat them.
"And I am like most children - I always want what I don't have. It's so hard to get to a Heineken Cup final and winning it would be so dear to me.
"But not just for me of course, but also for the club's history and for all our supporters. We experienced the joy of winning the French Championship in 2005 and 2006 and we really want to share that feeling again with all the Biarritz fans."
Biarritz are in their second Heineken Cup final, the first occasion four years ago ending in disappointment and a 23-19 defeat by Munster.
"The 2006 Heineken Cup final is a very bitter memory," he said. "I didn't even want the runners-up medal. What drove me mad was the feeling that we were not ready for the event.
"The Millennium Stadium was heaving with 40-50,000 Irish supporters and I think our players went to pieces. This time we won't make the same mistakes.
"When you think back to 2006 it was logical that we reached the final considering our form that season. Yet on the day, even though we had the best team on the field, we lost in Cardiff.
"This year I really believe in what we are doing. We are not favourites, but I really think we stand a chance. These are games that are won through your desire and group solidarity. We have enough determination to bring the Heineken Cup back to Biarritz."
Current Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir was a Biarritz player back in 2006 - and was a 52nd minute replacement in the final - before joining Toulouse that summer.
"I think he will know how to rally his troops because he will know that Biarritz are capable of achieving big things in games like these," said Harinordoquy.
"He knows us well enough to be wary and we won't be expecting any favours from him during the 80 minutes.
"And I relish the prospect of playing against some of my international team-mates - it will give me a lot of extra motivation. You always want to prove you are better than the player in front of you. There are going to be some great heads-to-heads across the pitch and I know I'm going to have to be at the top of my game."
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.