Dafydd James insists it's time for Welsh regions to step up a level in the Heineken Cup...
Dafydd James insists it's time for Welsh regions to step up a level in the Heineken Cup, admitting: "We've let ourselves down in the past".
Llanelli Scarlets wing James faces London Irish in the opening round of this season's Heineken Cup aiming to end Wales' barren run in Europe's top club competition.
A Welsh side has yet to reach the final since Cardiff back in 1996 and the regions failed to reach the knock-out stages for the past two years.
Now British & Irish Lion James, one score away from becoming the first man to score 25 tries in the Heineken Cup, says the Welsh regions must deliver this season.
He said: "It's definitely time for Wales to step up in the competition - we've let ourselves down in recent years.
"We haven't been reaching the quarter or semi finals, and with the potential that's availible, we really should be reaching those final stages
"Hopefully this year it will be the Scarlets, but if not, I hope at least one of the regions gets through"
Llanelli Scarlets have flown the flag for Wales in Europe, twice reaching the semi-finals, but James believes Welsh rugby as a whole would benefit from a region going all the way to the final.
The 31-year-old said: "It would be a massive achievement for a Welsh club to win the Heineken Cup. It would be fantastic for the people of Wales and generate a lot more income and sponsorship for the regions, and so improve rugby at the grass roots."
He added: "There's a lot of rivalry between the regions, but I'd like to think that if one got to the final, other regions would get behind them - for the sake of Welsh rugby."