Edinburgh Rugby head coach Mike Blair has hailed his side’s “brilliant achievement” in qualifying for the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup with a round to spare – but he now wants them to seal a home tie in the Round of 16 as well.

The Scottish team’s 34-21 bonus-point win at Castres Olympique last Sunday booked their place in the last 16 and now they host three-time winners Saracens on Sunday, with the English team three points and two places ahead of them in third spot on 14.

“There is a bigger mission than that one,” Blair said of the qualification. “We are pleased to get to that stage and it is a huge game against Saracens.

“We have done well because we have got two bonus-point wins and a losing bonus point. A win will give us a home Round of 16, but I have to check that.

“It is a good achievement so far, as there are so many teams in there with quality. To get through with a round to spare is excellent, especially when you consider we were in a group with two teams that were in the final of their domestic competitions last year.

“We are pleased we won [against Castres], but we want to stretch ourselves. We want to win at home.”

Blair acknowledged that reaching the last 16 from the pool stage isn’t quite the same as qualifying for the quarter-finals from there – as was the case until three years ago – but he stressed: “We should be positive about it.

“If there is something to be positive about, then I think we should take that opportunity. It is different to the previous format, because in the past you went straight to the quarter-finals as opposed to going into a Round of 16, but I still think this is a brilliant achievement for Edinburgh.

“The teams we are playing against are English and French finalists from last season – to get 11 points from those first three games is significant.

“I think it’s really important for Scottish rugby that we are getting into the knockout stages of competitions.”