John Mulvihill is relishing the challenge ahead after the Guinness PRO14 Conference draw was announced for the next two campaign.
Cardiff Blues switch to Conference B, as they line-up alongside fellow Welsh region, Scarlets. Wales’ Capital Region are also grouped alongside last season’s top performing Irish and Italian sides, Munster and Benetton, who both qualified to the Finals Series, as well as Connacht, Edinburgh and Isuzu Southern Kings.
The head coach admits there is no easy draws in the Championship and believes there is a winning mentality throughout the Conference.
“We’re certainly in a tough Conference once again this season, although I’m sure we’ll miss playing Glasgow four times next season, like we did this time around,” said the Australian.
“The two top teams who were in the Grand Final, Glasgow and Leinster, are in the other Conference, but if you look at our draw we are placed against teams of a very high quality with lots of international players and previous winners of the PRO14.
“It’s going to be very tough and the cross-over games will prove to be very important next season.
“Conference A have three or four distinctively top teams, but in Conference B you have four teams who have won trophies over the last number of seasons, with Benetton and Edinburgh also qualifying for the Finals Series recently.
“It’s going to be tough for anyone in that pool, but it’s about taking each game at at time and we’re really excited about the challenges ahead of us.”
The Blues will also find out their European fate as the Challenge Cup draw takes place in Lausanne on Wednesday. The two-time former Challenge Cup winners return to the competition, having lifted the trophy in Bilbao in 2018.
Mulvihill is excited to see who awaits his side on their European adventure and says the squad are looking forward to starting preparations for the 2019/20 campaign over the next couple of weeks.
The head coach added: “The boys have had a few weeks off to rest and recover, but as always it’s been busy both at the Arms Park and up in the Vale training ground.
“They’ll come back to training on June 24 and we’ll begin our preparations for the new season from that point.
“We’re also looking forward to the launch of the Challenge Cup on Wednesday and looking forward to seeing what teams we’re matched up with.
“Once again, when you look at the sides involved in that competition, there are some really tough teams in there and it will be a really good experience.
“There are some big, traditional European powerhouses involved this year, and hopefully we’ll have some great trips for the travelling support as well.”