Today the draw for the pools of what may be the last ever Heineken Cup was made in Dublin.

For all its structural flaws (or injustices, to take the English position), the competition has become regarded as the crème-de-la-crème of world rugby – big money; pan-cultural, partisan crowds; ferocious intensity; and no little “flair”.

It has also become extremely evenly-matched, with this year’s Tier 4 containing Top 14 winners Castres and big-spenders Racing Metro. To reverse a popular media cliché, it is now very hard to find a ‘pool of life’ – with Zebre probably the only exception.

But Sarries have done reasonably well for themselves this year – drawing Toulouse, Connacht and Zebre. On Twitter this morning it was the pool we dreamt of getting. Zebre, as such a new franchise, have struggled to make the step-up to elite rugby; Connacht have long been the forgotten province of Irish rugby; and Toulouse have an extraordinary habit of flattering to deceive.

None of that is to sound complacent or to expect an easy ride. There are no easy away games anywhere in Europe, and the gritty qualities of the wolfpack will need to be in full force. Equally, the need for clinical attack and try bonus points is paramount. And, let’s not forget that Toulouse have one of the biggest budgets, and probably the biggest pedigree of all the Heineken Cup sides.

Of course it will be a challenge (who doesn’t want that?), but the draw is about the best Sarries could have hoped for.

But disregarding our opposition for the moment, Sarries should enter the competition with strong ambitions.

2013-14 will be the fifth year of Venter & McCall’s five-year plan of winning this very trophy, and the last two seasons have seen tangible progress in the knockout stages.

The quarter-final against Ulster was perhaps the most impressive and complete performance this group has ever produced.

But, equally, the bitter memories of the subsequent game against Toulon are bitter indeed. The Men in Black were dominated and suffocated – and when chances occasionally came, the pressure proved too much.

With Clermont and Toulon’s squads not getting any smaller, the Irish sides still posing a significant threat, and a few French and Premiership sides on the rise, it’s never been harder to go all the way.

The question, obviously, is whether we’ll have made the necessary amendments. Will our squad be deeper? Will we have the extra physicality to take on the French boys? Will we develop a freer attacking game which isn’t contingent on physical dominance?

I think the answer to the first two questions is most likely a yes. Bringing in James Johnston and Billy Vunipola (and potentially Jacques Potgeiter) not only adds physical bulk but also increases our options – as will the continuing emergence of George Kruis and the return of Jacques Burger.

In the backs, Duncan Taylor, Tim Streather and Marcelo Bosch will be useful options in the midfield as we seek to be less dependent on Brad Barritt and have alternatives to Joel Tomkins’ power-game.

Whether our rotation system is optimised, and whether we develop new strategies in attack, depends on what our coaching team chooses – but I’m quietly confident for now…