Caolin Blade revelled in his man-of-the-match try-scoring salvo as Connacht defeated Montpellier at the Sportsground, but their focus had already turned to repeating their French triumph next weekend away to Top 14 champions Toulouse.
It’s three seasons since Connacht played Champions Cup rugby, a year that they defeated Toulouse in Galway, while in 2013 they also registered a memorable away win at Stade Ernest Wallon. Blade missed out on that victory but wants to get his own taste of glory against the French kingpins on Saturday.
“I can’t wait, I haven’t played over there. I played against them here (at the Sportsground), but I wasn’t involved in the victory over there a few years ago,” said Blade, who was described by his coach Andy Friend as “a very influential leader” after the win.
“We’ve six days, we’ve to recuperate and get the bodies right because it’s going to be a massive challenge.
A couple of seasons in the doldrums of the Challenge Cup since the highs of winning the PRO12 in 2016 has been a hard grind, but it has made qualifying this year all the sweeter.
“I was thinking last night that this is Champions Cup, it’s bigger than the Challenge Cup but as a Connacht player you take every game as important (as the other).
“There is that extra feeling out there, we’re delighted to be playing in it. As a professional rugby player, you want to be playing at the top of Europe and I’m delighted to be here.”
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