Benetton Treviso head coach Franco Smith insists the prospect of taking on Saracens in Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash holds no fear for his Italian upstarts.
Treviso have made by far and away their most impressive start to a RaboDirect PRO12 season and before falling to Edinburgh last weekend had won four games on the bounce.
Saracens meanwhile have made an impressive start to the defence of the Premiership crown they claimed for the first time in their history this year.
But the Vicarage Road outfit failed to deliver on the European stage last season, tumbling out at the group stages and Smith is hoping that his charges can halt Sarries’ European ambitions this time around as well.
“We’ve learnt a lot from the first eight games of the season and we need to take those lessons into the game against Sarries. They will be out to win the whole competition but we have nothing to lose,” he said.
“No one thinks we stand a chance, but have to do what we do well.
“We also need to see how much we’ve learnt from last year and try to improve from there. We know we aren’t there yet, but we will be much better prepared this season.
“Against Edinburgh we made too many mistakes but it’s meant we can start again this week.”
Indeed Smith admits his side are embracing the underdog tag that leaves them under no pressure to go out and perform against Europe’s elite.
“We are really excited to be starting the Heineken Cup. It’s always the best competition to be a part of and we are very honoured to be involved again this year,” he added.
“It’s great to take on the English and French teams who we don’t play very often.”