London Irish have been installed as one of the favourites for European Challenge Cup glory in May - and that accolade comes from the main man with their back-to-back French opponents in Rounds 3 and 4.
The Exiles top the Guinness Premiership and were Heineken Cup semi-finalists last season. And they have stormed to the top of Pool 1 after back-to-back victories in Rounds 1 and 2.
With Matt Catt's side on a roll, his. oppsite number Thomas Lievremont, the former French international and Biarritz Olympique back row star, accepts they have massive challenges ahead, starting at Stade Maurice Boyau on Friday night.
And for Lievremont there is another chance to cross swords with old adversary Catt - this time a potential battle of minds off the field.
"I remember Mike Catt from our first meeting at Stade de France way back in 1998," said Lievremont. "I'm not at all surprised that he has gone into coaching as he was always a great strategist with a strong understanding of the game.
"I have a lot of admiration for him as a player and now I'll get to meet him as a coach. London Irish have a great deal of individual talent - and they have a very dangerous back line, which they showed in their semi-final against Toulouse last season.
"They are going to be really tough opposition and they are real title contenders this season in this tournament.
"We had a fine 13-6 win at Toulon over the weekend and that took us up to ninth place in the Top 14, which means our outlook going into this match is a little bit different to those at the beginning of the season. Then we were struggling in the league and obviously relegation was a big concern for us but now that we are up to ninth the pressure has eased a little and we are a bit more relaxed.
"However, we lost our first two tournament games and now we are going into the back-to back games against the team which I would say is definitely the strongest in the Pool with the greatest chance of qualification. It means we are now playing for pride and we have no intention of letting these games go easily.
"And the Heineken Cup is an important goal for the bigger clubs and for teams like Dax while the European Challenge Cup offers the opportunity to meet foreign sides and referees, all of which gives us a chance to improve our playing.
"I watched the first final in 1996 between Cardiff and Toulouse and remember that nobody really thought it would take off and now look at it. That first season we didn't realise what was starting."
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.