World Cup-winning fly half Butch James says Bath Rugby have every chance of winning the European Challenge Cup this season.
Sale Sharks kick-off the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals against Brive at Edgeley Park on Friday night hoping to go a giant step closer to a hat-trick of tournament titles.
But while the 2002 and 2005 champions have that treble to aim for, Bath Rugby are intent on making it third time lucky after losing in the 2003 and 2007 finals.
The 1998 Heineken Cup winners face Leeds Carnegie in an all-English quarter-final at The Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon determined to go all the way and, albeit belatedly, make it a European double.
Bath have notched up the season's Premiership double over Leeds Carnegie with 41-10 and 34-15 wins but Butch James, South Africa's 2007 World Cup winning fly half, insists there will be no complacency from the home side.
"We will go into the game accepting that as it is a knock-out match if you lose you don't get any second chance - you are out," said James, hoping to be fit for selection for the quarter-final after dislocating a shoulder scoring a try in January's defeat at Saracens.
"It will be a close call as to whether or not I will be available for selection but all the players will go into the tie knowing it is 50-50 and that Leeds will come out firing on all cylinders, particularly after their recent good win over Newcastle Falcons.
"And there are pros and cons with a match in which the teams know each other so well.
"If you don't know much about your opponents you tend to focus entirely on what you want to do and how you want to play the game.
"However, if you know each other well then not only do you have to focus on your own game but also on what they are likely to do and which players to look out for, those who are likely to represent the major dangers."
There are five English clubs - Bath Rugby, Sale Sharks, Newcastle Falcons, Worcester Warriors and Leeds Carnegie - in the last eight along with French sides Montpellier, Castres Olympique and Brive with the tournament winner in late May gaining automatic qualification into the 2008 / 2009 Heineken Cup and valuable ERC Ranking points up for grabs in the process.
"We are in the mix for both the Premiership and the European Challenge Cup and we are going for both," said James. "I came here determined to try and help the club win silverware and we are in contention on both domestic and European fronts.
"But we know that Leeds' big strength is that they never give up and that they give everything in playing for each other - and any team with that is a danger.
"We are fully aware we have to overcome a big challenge if we are to go through to the semi-finals just three weeks later."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.