Continental Shield final ‘was nothing more than a dream’ says Heidelberger RK scrum-half
Heidelberger RK scrum-half Sean Armstrong has admitted that reaching the European Rugby Continental Shield final against Enisei-STM next week “was nothing more than a dream” at the start of the season.
The German club qualified for the final in Bilbao on May 12 via two-legged victories over Italian side Calvisano (51-42) and Timisoara Saracens, overcoming a 26-20 first-leg defeat in Romania to beat Timisoara 47-41 on aggregate.
Armstrong said that just being at European finals weekend was incredible in itself – and he hopes that his side’s success will help put rugby in Germany on the map.
“It really is a huge thing for us as a team and we are all excited to get to Bilbao,” Armstrong said. “At the start of the season, it was nothing more than a dream, so to have this opportunity is great.
“To be at the European finals weekend is incredible. Being in Bilbao with the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will be brilliant, and I’m sure it will have a great vibe.
“The Continental Shield is a huge step up from domestic action in all aspects really. Physically and tactically, it really is the next level and that is something we are looking forward to next week.
“We hope to benefit German rugby and it would be great to help put it on the map.”
Russian club Enisei-STM have taken some major scalps in the Challenge Cup, having beaten Worcester Warriors and Dragons last season, and nearly defeated the Welsh region this term, when they succumbed to a 28-21 loss.
They progressed into this year's Continental Shield final after a convincing 74-48 aggregate win over fellow Russian side Krasny Yar.
However, Armstrong (31) was keen to point out the teams that Heidelberger RK had beaten on the way to the Bilbao final.
“We know the quality of Enisei-STM and how they like to play,” he said. “They have a lot of players in the Russian national team and have obviously played in the Challenge Cup, so we have done our analysis.
“They have caused a few upsets in the past, so we know they are a very good side.
“But we had to show a lot of heart and experience to come through matches against Timi?oara Saracens and Calvisano, who we had already beaten [in the Pool stages].”
Watch the European Rugby Continental Shield Final between Heidelberger RK and Enisei-STM live at the Campo Rugby Fadura, Getxo on Saturday, 12 May. Kick-off is at 12:00 local time and the match will also be streamed live on the European Rugby Challenge Cup Facebook Page.