BATH Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan has described the back-to-back Heineken Cup challenge against reigning champions Leinster as "the toughest of all home and away matches for us".
The veteran British & Irish Lions coach has been around the block a few times. He has seen it all in this game at international and club level where he took London Wasps to European glory in 2004.
But it is Leinster who have clinched two of the last three Heineken Cups in building a brand identity that is synonymous with winning, while McGeechan has moved to Bath, who have become under-achievers in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe.
“Leinster are used to winning in Europe and they are a side that plans for the Heineken Cup. They won pretty convincingly against Glasgow after their draw in Round One,” said McGeechan.
“They haven't won the tournament twice for no reason. We played against them when I was at London Wasps when we knew how to win and they were learning – now the boot is on the other foot.”
At present, Joe Schmidt's Leinster side – on seven points – hold a two-point lead over Bath in Pool Three, with the pair due to meet at The Recreation Ground in just under three weeks’ time, in what will be the first of two meetings within six days.
It is also viewed, rightly or wrongly, as the decisive tussle in a group where Glasgow, three points behind, and Montpellier, four back, are further adrift of the leading two clubs.