Double European Cup runner-up Dimitri Yachvili thinks that Racing 92’s defeat in last season’s European Rugby Champions Cup final will only make them hungrier to reach the final once again in the 2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup.
The French side lost 15-12 to Leinster Rugby in Bilbao in May, but Yachvili, recalling his experience as a losing finalist with Biarritz Olympique in 2006 and 2010, feels that Racing 92 can build on that display, despite being drawn in a tricky Pool 4 with Leicester Tigers, Scarlets and Ulster Rugby.
The beIN SPORTS analyst said after Wednesday’s draw in Lausanne: “They’re up against Leicester Tigers again, after having been in the same Pool as them last season, so it’s another tough draw for this Racing 92 side.
“But they’ll be looking to get right back to the final. I know that, from experience, when you lose a final, what you want more than anything is to get back there again.
“It’s going to be a long and difficult road to get to Newcastle and St James’ Park, but I believe Racing 92 have got what it takes to get there.”
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) June 20, 2018
The former France scrum-half feels four-time winners Toulouse face an even harder task, after being drawn in Pool 1 alongside defending champions Leinster, double winners Wasps and 1998 champions Bath Rugby.
“That is some Pool for Toulouse – a Pool of champions, seeing as all of those teams have won this competition before,” he commented.
“So it’s going to be very hard, but Toulouse are a club on the rise over the past few seasons and they’ll be looking to reassert themselves at an international level and at a European level.
“It’s going to be really tough for them, because they’ll be up against three tough teams in that Pool, but that should help them raise their game and to really get to grips with the tournament right from the start.”