Monday, November 5, 2007

Kelleher set for Heineken Cup debut

And while the triple Heineken Cup winners and Edinburgh are regular tournament opponents – this will be the 10th time they have collided – it is all brand new for Toulouse’s big name signing.

“The rugby in Europe is quite different to back home,” said Kelleher. “In New Zealand the rugby is a lot faster, but up here it’s a lot more physical and when it comes to the atmosphere, although the crowds aren’t always as big as you’d get back home, they make just as much noise. Playing in front of a big crowd over here must be absolutely amazing and something I’m looking forward to.

“I’ve watched a bit of Top 14 and have seen that there are some different styles of play, but Toulouse play a really similar style to the All Blacks, they like to keep the ball alive and playing all over the park and that’s something I’m really looking forward to doing.

“The Heineken Cup gets far more publicity in New Zealand than the Top 14, and for anyone who plays a lot of rugby in New Zealand they are inspired to play by the players in the Heineken Cup.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in it and now I’ve got one game under my belt and another one this weekend I should have settled in nicely before the Heineken Cup starts – I want to play well for the team and I want Toulouse to win the competition.

“With all the technology available to us these days It doesn’t take much to find out about the other teams in our pool. I’ve studied these teams before and I watched a lot of the Heineken Cup in New Zealand before I moved over and I know we’ve got three really tough teams in our group.

“Obviously I know a lot of the players through international rugby and I know the quality that all three sides have in their squads. Having said that, I want us to be real contenders in the Pool stages and, hopefully, earn a home quarter-final and then anything can happen.

“I guess the thing I’m really excited about is the atmosphere and the ambience which is around the ground. The fans here are really something special and, although we have great supporters back in New Zealand, the supporters here are really fanatical about their rugby and their teams.

“It’s really exciting being here. Like anything in life, things can get a bit stale and I find that I play my best rugby when I change things. I did that when I played for Otago. It started getting a bit stale living in the same place and playing for the same team and it was just a routine and there wasn’t much excitement so I changed the team and the atmosphere and it just grew my rugby.

“So, after playing many years of Southern Hemisphere rugby, I decided that it’s time for me to move on and set myself new goals and challenge myself outside New Zealand.

“That’s what I’m doing here and I can’t wait to get stuck in and particularly playing Heineken Cup. It’ll take me a month or so to really get into the routine and once I’ve conquered that I’ll be able to really get on top of my rugby.”

HEINEKEN CUP 2007 / 2008 - (All kick-offs LOCAL times)



Pool 1 Perpignan v Newport Gwent Dragons 21.00 Canal+ / Sky Sports*
Pool 2 Ulster Rugby v Gloucester Rugby 20.00 Sky Sports


Pool 1 London Irish v Benetton Treviso 15.00
Pool 2 Ospreys v Bourgoin 17.30 S4C**/Sport+/Sky Sports*
Pool 3 Stade Français Paris v Harlequins 14.35 Canal+
Pool 4 Viadana v Biarritz Olympique 14.30
Pool 5 London Wasps v Munster (Ricoh Arena) 17.30 Sky Sports / Sport+* / RTE**
Pool 6 Edinburgh v Toulouse 15.30 Sky Sports / FR2
Pool 6 Leinster v Leicester Tigers 13.30 Sky Sports / RTE**


Pool 3 Cardiff Blues v Bristol Rugby 13.00 Sky Sports
Pool 4 Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 15.00
Pool 5 ASM Clermont v Llanelli Scarlets 16.00 FR2 / Sky Sports

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