English sides ready for Euro renaissance, says Dallaglio

ENGLAND legend Lawrence Dallaglio has backed Premiership clubs to re-establish themselves as a European force this season.

Northampton Saints were the only English side to reach the last eight of the Heineken Cup last year in what was a hugely disappointing campaign for domestic teams. But as the Premiership’s finest prepare to engage with the cream of Europe again this weekend in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup, Dallaglio is predicting a renaissance.

“It’s always disappointing when English clubs don’t do well but overall they are in credit in the Heineken Cup. Leicester are two-time winners and so are Wasps,” Dallaglio, an ambassador for Amlin, told City A.M.

“I don’t think last season was a worrying trend. French and Irish teams were very strong and it’s not a bad thing that teams like Ospreys made it to the quarter-finals.

“Northampton look well placed this year. I expect Leicester Tigers to come through their group and I also think Bath have a fantastic chance of qualifying from their pool.

“Like football teams in the Champions League, you need a little bit of luck. But I certainly expect English teams to be more competitive than they were last season.”

Dallaglio, who captained Wasps to Heineken Cup glory in 2007, stresses the importance of performing well enough in the pool stages to secure a home draw in the quarter-finals. He added: “I played in the European Cup many times and both times I won it we had our quarter-finals at home. That makes a big difference.”