Stade Toulousain captain Julien Marchand has warned that the Heineken Champions Cup holders are raring to go this season and ready to defend the trophy they won in May.

“There’s a lot to look forward to, whether this be at home or away, or abroad,” he said. “So, everyone is excited to embark on a new campaign and achieve something special again.”

And that includes securing a record-breaking sixth European Cup – which the 26-year-old said would crown a “perfect year”.

“We had a brilliant season [in 2020-21] and reaped the rewards at the end of it, so repeating it would be pretty good,” he added, reflecting on a year in which they won the TOP 14 as well as the European title.

Toulouse’s storied history – which Marchand described as “something marvellous” – is something in which he and his squad take great pride, and they welcome the pressure that comes with wanting to emulate the great teams of the past.

The hooker admitted that opponents might be thinking of them as the team to beat – but warned that his own players can’t think that way.

“We simply want to give 100% and not necessarily worry about the opposition and what they’re thinking, so we want to concentrate on ourselves,” he pointed out.

“We keep what we’ve done in mind, but we can either rest on our laurels, or try and go for something else. Once again, that’s what every one of us thinks, or so I hope. No one dwells on the previous season; we all want to focus on the new season and give 100 per cent.”