7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
"Obviously this is the competition that we all want to play in. It is a chance a chance for players to prove themselves at a level above the Zurich Premiership and really push forward those international aspirations. As a player you want to test yourself in the best environment and that is what this competition gives."
As a player who has been overlooked at international level, David says that the competition gives players like himself the opportunity to play at grounds like Lansdowne Road against world-class players such as Brian O'Driscoll when he would not usually get the chance to do so.
"I think this competition allows you to compete against some of the best players in the world," he said. "The Zurich Premiership is a great competition in its own right but you don't get to come up against the likes of Brian O'Driscoll every weekend do you? Unless you are playing in international matches, you really don't get this opportunity too often."
Bath Rugby have not yet hit top form in the Zurich Premiership this season, and David says that he, for one, believes that a strong start to the Heineken Cup could be just what the club needs in order to kick-start the Zurich Premiership campaign.
"We have had seven games now and we have not really hit top form and we have certainly not played as well as we would have liked," he admits. "The Heineken Cup has come at the right time for us and presents the chance to come away from the Premiership, start a new competition afresh and really get things going. If we can go well over the next fortnight then it will give us great impetus for the return of the Premiership again."
Whilst David also suggests that a lack of in depth research on his opponents in Pool Two of the competition could make for more open and exciting games, he says that he is expecting a real battle when Bourgoin visit the Rec on Saturday (2.15pm).
"There is a lot less that you know about the teams, which can actually be a good thing," he explained. "I think that the lack of knowledge actually makes this competition a lot more exciting to play in and I think that we will get more open games, with space and perhaps a few more line breaks."
"We believe that Bourgoin will be extremely physical up front. They have Laurent Seigne as coach and they pride themselves on the performance of their eight. That is why this weekend is such a massive game for us as we know as a group of forwards that the set pieces will be tougher than against Leicester and we will need to front up."