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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Howley admits to Munster anguish
Rob Howley (left) with Dai Young and Richard Webster
Howley was in the only team to win in Munster in the Heineken Cup
Cardiff Blues backs coach Rob Howley has admitted to disappointment after his side's top Welsh Heineken Cup seeding landed them a horror draw.

"I said the one team I feared in Europe was Munster," said Howley, whose team also face Bourgoin and Leicester.

"They have got that physical edge that makes them so hard to play and so tough to beat. They're a hell of a side.

"But having them and Leicester is a huge opportunity for the Blues players to find out how good they are."

We mustn't fear any of the teams in our pool

Rob Howley

Former Wales and Lions scrum-half Howley, a Heineken Cup winner with Wasps in 2004, believes there is hope for his mercurial side.

"With the new signings we've made, and the improvement we showed last season, these are the kind of matches I know the players, as well as the coaches, will relish," he said.

"We have to be optimistic and we mustn't fear any of the teams in our pool.

"The Ospreys showed how to play against Leicester last season when they posed them all sorts of problems at Welford Road and then came within a few seconds of winning at the Liberty Stadium."

Neither Cardiff RFC nor the Blues regional side have ever met the Tigers in the Heineken Cup.

Cardiff beat Bourgoin the last time they met in the Heineken Cup, 26-6 at the Arms Park in the 1997/8 campaign.

The Welsh capital side have a remarkable record of three wins out of three encounters with Munster in Europe.

I doubt if anyone gives us much chance to qualify from the group stage so it would be really nice to shock people

Blues coach Dai Young

That includes a 37-32 win at Cork's Musgrave Park in the 1997/8 competition, the only time the Irish province have ever lost a home European game.

That Cardiff side included Howley and current Blues head coach Dai Young.

"The Heineken Cup games are always a massive challenge and I think it's fair to say you never get an easy group but some years you do get easier groups," said Young.

"This pool will be a huge challenge for us with Leicester winning the Heineken Cup in 2001 and 2002.

"We also have the current champions Munster and Bourgoin will be a hard team to beat.

"Although the games will be challenging I'm excited about them and we should look forward to them rather than shying away from them.

"I doubt if anyone gives us much chance to qualify from the group stage so it would be really nice to shock people."

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