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Home draw 'crucial for cup hopes'

Connacht coach Michael Bradley said that home advantage could be crucial when they take on Bourgoin in the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

The French side secured their place in the last eight with an 18-9 win in Leeds yesterday.

They were runners-up to Northampton Saints in the final last year and were the inaugural winners of this competition back in 1997. They were also runners-up to Clermont Auvergne two years later.

"They clearly value this competition and they will be formidable opposition. But all teams that reach this stage are good, there is no such thing as an easy draw," Bradley said.

"Bourgoin went last year to London Irish, who were our pool winners then, and defeated them and they again travelled well to turn over Leeds this weekend in a winner-takes-all game.

"But home advantage will be crucial to us. We wanted to avoid a Magners League team and we have done that and now that we know who we will be playing in April we can start preparing for that."

He added: "It will be a great occasion and with a big home following we know we can advance. Our confidence is high and we will take that into the match."

Irish Independent