Agen and Pau clash for the first time this season when Pau travel to their domestic rivals on Saturday with Pau's former Australian international lock Garrick Morgan happy to be involved in European competition.
"The team is rebuilding and we're having some problems in the domestic league but we still always look forward to our European Challenge Cup matches," he said.
"We did much better in European than domestic competition last year and I think this is largely down to the amount of pressure in the domestic league. For us, playing European matches was almost a mental relief and we were able to actually enjoy playing.
"This is my last playing season at Pau so I would not be here next year if we qualified for the Heineken Cup but it would be amazing for me to leave the team at the end of the season preparing for a Heineken season.
"Having said that, I reckon we've got a pretty tough pool. Agen are a strong team, particularly at home and will be tough to beat this coming weekend.
"We have got a few ex-Harlequins guys down here who obviously know London Irish pretty well and we know how big those games are going to be.
"I know some people think the Italians are easy to beat, but we don't know Parma at all and I think the way Italian rugby is going, they could well cause a few upsets in the European tournaments this year.
"To be honest, the pressure of Top 14 rugby has totally stifled us. We are so focused on the result that we're not really getting to play much. Add to that the monotony of playing the same teams year after year and you can very quickly lose the enjoyment. European rugby will give us the opportunity to relax and actually play some rugby.
"I think the French teams will do well this year, because we can enjoy playing in Europe much more the French teams relax and that is when they play at their best and this sort of rugby is the perfect antedote for the negative impact of professionalism."
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.