Bucuresti Wolves coach Lynn Howells admits his side face a daunting task to compete with the bigger clubs as they prepare to face Newcastle in the European Challenge Cup (Newcastle 33/1 – Tournament Outright).
The Romanian outfit will travel to Kingston Park to face the North East club on Friday in their first match of this season’s revamped second-tier competition.
Further home and away games against Stade Francais and Newport Gwent Dragons will follow as they try to somehow find a way to qualify from Pool 3 (Stade Francais 7/2 – Tournament Outright).
It looks a tough task for the Wolves, who are a side drawn from eight professional teams in Romania’s domestic league and who have yet to make it to the quarter-finals of the competition.
However, they have come mighty close in recent years and pushed both Newcastle and French side Brive all the way last season before falling at the death.
And Howells, who was Graham Henry’s assistant at Wales a few years ago, feels that rugby in the country has certainly made great strides over the past few seasons.
“You can see the progress we have made,” he said. “When you start something and see it develop it’s exciting.”
But the veteran tactician, who also coaches the Romania national aside, is realistic enough to know that it will be nothing short of a miracle if his men do manage to reach the knockout stage of the event this time around.
“You have to remember that the Wolves are a development side,” he added. “Our team is all Romania-based players and the primary aim is to identify players to improve the national team.”