Bristol boss Richard Hill says it’s great to be back dining at the top table of European rugby.

Bristol return to the Heineken Cup for the first time since the 2002/3 season after a successful year in the Guinness Premiership and Hill said: “It is great to be back in the Heineken Cup after a lengthy time away from the tournament.

“And we we have got three fantastic home games against Stade Francais Paris, Cardiff Blues and Harlequins that will each attract full houses to the Memorial Ground – it promises to be a fantastic commercial opportunity for the club.

“Some might disagree but I am also delighted that we are in against the French champions. Stade Francais are just the sort of team we want our players to face, we want them to test themselves against the best around and going to Paris and experiencing that sort of hostile environment can only assist the development of our young players. 

“As far as I am concerned I am delighted that the draw has put us in a Pool where there are not great travel demands. Going to Cardiff, London and Paris for our three away matches will be fantastic.”