Toulouse is probably the toughest you can get, says Leicester Tigers No.8 Jordan Crane
Leicester Tigers No.8 Jordan Crane insists every player in the squad will "relish" the chance to pit their wits against European rugby's most successful club tomorrow afternoon.
The 26-year-old is back in the swing of things after three consecutive starts following a year out due to a knee reconstruction.
And he heads to four-times winners Toulouse determined to help get Leicester's Heineken Cup campaign off to a dream start.
"We went there five years ago and lost. Playing anywhere in France is tough but Toulouse is probably the toughest you can get," he said.
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"It's going to be a massive game and a massive occasion and every single player is going to relish playing there.
"The Heineken Cup takes every player and team to different levels. You just sit and watch it on television and you can see.
"It brings the best out of every player and is the closest thing you will get to an international game at club level. It's just an awesome experience.
"Tomorrow will certainly be a bit different to being watched by 7,000 at Sale.
"There is a cracking atmosphere for the Heineken Cup whenever we play at Welford Road and they will be going mad in Toulouse as well. When it's a Heineken Cup day, you can feel it in the air.
"There is just a different feel and everyone is a bit more excited and knows the game is going to be a bit more intense."
Crane continues his back-row partnership with Thomas Waldrom tomorrow. It's an unlikely duo that was thrown together in the wake of injuries to Tom Croft, Steve Mafi and Julian Salvi.
But Crane says it is working well and gives the side different options.
"With me and Thomas on the same side it gives us more carry with ball in hand because we both like doing that," he said.
"It's good to have us both in the starting line-up and if Richard Cockerill thinks it works, then great.
"I am really pleased to be back playing and getting the game time that I need to get myself up to speed and in positions I want to be in to make those tackles and carry the ball.
"Since I came back, I have been making around 20 tackles a game and I have had plenty of carries too so, after a year out, I am hardly being eased back in!
"It's going to be another busy weekend again. They are full of good payers and we are expecting a really tight game. I think it will come down to the team that can enforce their game plan on the other side will go on to win.
"It's about who puts the ball in the right areas and controls the game the best. It will be a great start for us if we can come away with something from it."