Two-time European Cup winner Austin Healey believes that “Toulouse are the dark horses” in a competitive Pool 1 in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
The four-time European Cup winners have been drawn alongside last season’s winners, Leinster Rugby, two-time European Cup winners Wasps and Bath Rugby, who triumphed in 1998.
But despite the difficult Pool, Healey feels that Toulouse – who came second behind eventual winners Cardiff Blues in last season’s Challenge Cup Pool 2 – could go well in this season’s competition.
Speaking at today’s Heineken Champions Cup Draw in Lausanne, the former Leicester Tigers utility back said: “The Pools are really balanced this year. Pool 1 has 11 European titles in it so that is difficult.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) June 20, 2018
“I think Toulouse are the dark horses in Pool 1. Leinster will go in relative favourites to come out, but it is not an easy Pool to come out of.
“Wasps at home if they play the way they did last season are difficult to beat.
“Bath Rugby as well are a complete unknown quantity. They were fantastic in the final four weeks of last season, so you just don’t know what you are going to get with them.”
Healey also added that it could be the turn of a French side to lift Europe’s elite club competition.
“It’s a difficult badge to carry [the favourites’ tag for Leinster Rugby],” Healey stated. “They have got a very strong unit and a very strong side, but teams will be hunting them down more than ever now. Maybe it’s a year that a French side will take it.
“I always think in a Pool like that it is all about the first three games. If you can do pretty well in the first three games, you can build from there.”