Julien Bonnaire is hoping to use the power and passion of the Heineken Cup to lessen the pain of stepping down from the international stage with France.
The 75-times capped ASM Clermont Auvergne back row man made his debut as a replacement in France's Grand Slam season of 2004 and was an ever-present in the side that managed another clean-sweep in 2010. He also played in the Championship winning sides of 2006 and 2007 and played in the 2011 World Cup final.
But now his sights are firmly set on new frontiers, and a massive gap in his medal collection, as he gets ready to head to Vicarage Road for Clermont's Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with English champions Saracens on Sunday, 8 April (kick-off 4.30pm).
"It is a very bizarre feeling calling a halt to my international career with France, although I took the decision a few months ago. I'm happy that I made the decision and I want to be able to spend more time with my family," admitted Bonnaire.
"But we have a Heineken Cup quarter-final coming up with Clermont in a few weeks time and that is going to be a huge challenge for us. For me it is a game that will help me to turn the page and focus on something new.
"This quarter-final is very important for me because I have only few years left and I want to win the Heineken Cup before the end of my career. I know it will be difficult, especially playing away from home, but nothing is impossible. There are good values in this Clermont squad - I think we can do it!"
A run to the 2012 Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium would enable the 33-year-old Bonnaire to add the three games he needs to reach 50 Heineken Cup appearances and take both him and his club further than their previous best in the competition of the last eight.
"It is always difficult to come back in to the club environment after a 6 Nations tournament, but with this vital game against the Saracens so close it will be easier this time. The young players like Wesley Fofana and Jean-Marcellin Buttin have had their first taste of international rugby and that will be helpful for us," added Bonnaire.
"A Heineken Cup quarter-final is nearly like a 6 Nations game. The intensity is very high."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.