Wasps wing Tom Varndell admits that his view of the Amlin Challenge Cup has changed dramatically following his experiences in the competition this season.
The former Leicester Tigers star had plenty of European pedigree with his previous club but had never tasted Challenge Cup action.
Varndell enjoyed five seasons of Heineken Cup rugby with the Tigers between 2004 and 2009, helping the East Midlands giants reach two finals along the way.
The 24-year-old made 17 Heineken Cup appearances during that time, starting 13 times and scoring an impressive 12 tries in the process.
Varndell moved to Wasps last summer and, with their failure to qualify for this year's Heineken Cup, was immediately faced with a new European adventure, as well as a change of team-mates, home and environment.
"I'd never played in the Amlin Challenge Cup before and previously my view of it was that it was a lesser tournament," admitted Varndell, who has featured in all bar one of Wasps' seven Amlin games this year.
"But actually playing in it and playing teams like Gloucester and at Racing Metro in France makes you realise it's a very tough tournament to win.
"The later stages are just as tough as the Heineken Cup. You get quality teams involved, especially as the Heineken Cup teams have dropped down.
"It's an exciting tournament and I'm really enjoying it."
That last statement is hardly surprising given that asps have reached the semi-finals and Varndell has been one of the tournament's standout performers.
A stunning hat-trick in the quarter-final demolition of Gloucester made it 10 Amlin Challenge Cup tries in just six games.
Varndell picked up his first score in the October win over Rugby Roma, before claiming a brace of tries in his following three Challenge Cup ties - against Bayonne, Roma again and Racing Metro.
That makes Varndell the leading tryscorer in both the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Heineken Cup with three more scores than Connacht's Fionn Carr and Tommy Bowe of the Ospreys.
And while the four-times capped England flyer is quick to play down his own achievements, it's clear that moving to Adams Park has reignited his love for the game.
"The move's been fantastic for me," added Varndell.
"I felt like I was getting a bit stale at Leicester. I'd been there since I was about 17 or 18. I just needed a change. The opportunity came up to come here and I grabbed it with both hands.
"When you leave a club like Leicester, the only place you can really go is a club like Wasps. It's been a great opportunity for me. I'm enjoying it so much; it's been so much fun.
"We've got a quite a young squad and the boys have got that hunger and desire and that rubs off on you as a player."
That hunger has brought a huge amount of success to Wasps over recent years, particularly when it comes to European rugby.
Two Heineken Cup crowns and a Challenge Cup triumph make for pretty impressive reading but Varndell and his current crop of team-mates are intent on adding to that list with Amlin glory this season.
"It's fantastic to still be in the competition and still be in the hunt for trophies.
"It's knockout rugby and Wasps are renowned for playing their best rugby towards the end of the season. They've done it for so many years, bar last year.
"They're so determined to win trophies having not won any last year and the coaches have really stepped up the intensity saying, 'it's knockout rugby and we want to be there come the end of the season'. Everyone's bought into it.
"We're really starting to gel as a team now. We had so many new players come into the team this year and it just takes a while to gel as a team and we're starting to do that now.
"We are and have always been taking the Amlin Challenge Cup very seriously. We want to win every game. We've been told as a team to win every single game for the rest of the season and that's what we want to do."
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.