"It will be a revenge for Cardiff Blues, no doubt about that," said Clerc. "However, they are far more competitive this year; they were unbeaten in the Heineken Cup Pool stages and they are in the EDF Energy Cup final so we are in for a big fight and it'll be tough away game for us.
"On top of that we have to play on their turf but, having said that, many of us have played at the Millennium Stadium a few times before. We haven't had time to analyse the Cardiff Blues in detail yet but we will start doing that now following our 42-10 Top 14 win at Brive last weekend. However, from what we saw during the Pool games, the Blues have a very powerful
squad with a striking No 8 in Andy Powell. And, just like the Welsh team, they like to take players on with the ball in hand, relying on plenty of passes and off-loads. We'll have to be strong defensively to stop them gaining territory."
Almost all other European clubs cast envious eyes at the quality and depth of the Toulouse squad but Clerc insists there is room for strengthening things at half back in particular.
"Although we have a lot of players to choose from we are still lacking at scrum and outside half," he said. "That is frustrating because to be able to compete both at national and European levels, you have to have that depth. see it as a minimum requirement because even if you possess that, it is only just enough to do well although we are very lucky to be in a position where we can change our players without changing our level and quality of play.
"The competition amongst players of different ages is always a good thing and - at the
moment anyway - I don't feel threatened by the younger ones. When I was younger I had to compete with the most experienced players and now being in a somewhat 'senior' position, I have to keep working to maintain or improve my level and I never take things for granted. It is positive for the team to have such a variety of age and experience and, if anything, I find it extremely motivating and it doesn't worry me at all. It is very healthy for our group and forces us to work harder together."
For the first time since the introduction of quarter-finals in season 1996/97 France have got just one team through to the last eight, Toulouse carrying the hopes of their nation if they are to maintain the tradition of almost always having an active interest in the last four. The only tournament in the 13 so far when the semi-finals have been a French free zone
was in 2006/07 when Stade Français Paris and Biarritz Olympique both fell in the quarters.
"At Toulouse we always have that passion for big European events and facing Cardiff again is far from being boring," said Clerc. "You could say it is the return game from last year, but there is no feeling of repetition about it. We enter the Heineken Cup every year to win it and not just to play in it. The passion and interest in this competition never diminishes, whether it comes from the players or the coaching staff.
"We never cease to motivate ourselves; it's the culture of our club. There has always been that desire to do well, whether it is for the club or the city of Toulouse. Some seasons are better than others but, in all modesty, we know how enjoyable it is to win big titles - or at least reach the final stages - and each year we look forward to doing it all over again."
The Top 14 leaders gave themselves the perfect end of Six Nations boost when they beat domestic title challengers Stade Français Paris 15-11 and Clerc feels that will only benefit the Millennium Stadium challenge.
"It was mission accomplished for us to beat Stade Français because it was our first big game after the Six Nations and it had been six weeks during which everyone was all over the place so it was important for our squad to win," he said.
"That game was a key fixture for all the players, to allow them to focus again and to prepare for our main objective - the quarter-final in Cardiff. In that respect the clash against Paris was as close as we could get to a top level international game with its high intensity and it was very satisfying for us to succeed.
"On top of that we were not at full strength because we were still missing some key players in our squad and we had to improvise a little, for example with Yannick Jauzion at No 10. It was a relief to see that, even in that situation, we were able to do well so in case we have to adapt again for the quarter-final as we now know we have the resources."
No-one better represents Toulouse's ability to attract world class players than former All Blacks scrum half Byron Kelleher, now in his second hugely influential season at Stade Ernest Wallon.
"The fact that Byron was named the best Top 14 player last season says everything," said Clerc. "I think he brought his New Zealand professionalism to the team as they have a different working attitude and approach towards their game.
"He is a real competitor and fitted in well with our group as we share the same values while he also brought in some power and passion.
"He plays every game with the same intensity and focus and he has been an example for us in terms of consistency and performance. He's a real leader."
And Clerc believes that missing the 2008 final could now be beneficial to his own game.
"I am back with a bigger appetite, like that of a young player," he said. "I can't wait to get another taste of the knock-out stages. Last year I had to watch the final from the commentary box and I was on the sidelines for a long time because of my injury, so now I couldn't be happier to be back in great shape. And I am really eager to take part in the quarter-final against Cardiff, that's the positive thing about being out, you realise how much you miss playing.
"When you don't stop playing at top level you never appreciate what you have and when suddenly you are deprived from big international games or finals then you feel down. In that respect that forced break was good for me, I needed to recharge the batteries and start afresh."