7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Well, you'd be wrong! Because the honour of scoring Leicester's first try in European competition fell to none other than Graham Rowntree.
Yes, that's the same Graham Rowntree who made a little piece of Heineken Cup history on Sunday, 5 December, 2004 when he became a member of the exclusive ERC Elite Award '50 cap' club during the Tigers' epic 37-31 victory over London Wasps.
Not only did the 33-year-old England stalwart become the first Tiger to play 50 European games, but he also became the first player from an English club to reach that significant landmark.
And when you consider that English clubs have missed out on two of the 10 seasons of Heineken Cup rugby his achievement becomes all the more remarkable.
But not as remarkable as his 39th minute try at Lansdowne Road against Leinster in that opening Heineken Cup game on Wednesday, 16 October, 1996. If you believe 'Wiggy' it was a superb solo effort from 40 metres out involving two hand offs and a couple of sidesteps.
Those who were there on the night remember a close range effort with the rest of the Tigers pack pushing him over.
The Round 4 sell-out game at Welford Road, Graham's 367th appearance in a Leicester jersey, will seem a far cry from the day both he and the club made their bows on the European stage - when only 3,500 fans turned up at the home of Irish rugby.
Having fallen behind to an early penalty try, Graham's score enabled the Tigers to head into half-time with their noses in front, 13-10. After that, they went on to win 27-10 with other tries coming from Aadel Kardooni and current coach John Wells, and Rob Liley chipping in with 12 points.
That was the first of seven games Leicester played in their inaugural season, which took them to the first of three finals. Graham missed only one of those games and is one of only seven players, five of them Tigers (Rowntree, Healey, Martin Johnson, Back and Garforth) to have played in three Heineken Cup finals.
To illustrate just how long ago that first game was, only Victor Costello and Malcolm O'Kelly have survived from that Leinster side. Another name on their team list that day was Alain Rolland at scrum half - the referee for today's game!
Graham, on the other hand, is one of five survivors from Leicester's debut in the Heineken Cup. The other players from that original side who are still playing are Leon Lloyd, Richard Cockerill, Martin Johnson and Will Johnson.
Graham became the 10th player to qualify for an ERC Elite Award for reaching 50 appearances, hot on the heels of the Munster and Ireland prop John Hayes who reached his half-century at Castres two days earlier.
Of the first 10 players to make 50 Heineken Cup appearances to date, all bar Munster and Ireland wing John Kelly are forwards. The Munster skipper Anthony Foley was the first player to reach the landmark in January, 2003.
As the Heineken Cup celebrates its 10th anniversary this season, tournament organisers ERC introduced their Elite Awards Scheme to recognise and reward the glittering list of elite players and teams who have made outstanding contributions to the northern hemisphere's leading club rugby tournament.
Up to Round 3 of the 10th Heineken Cup campaign, ERC Elite Awards have presented to seven teams for playing 50 games in the tournament - Toulouse 65, Munster 63, Llanelli Scarlets 57, Leicester Tigers 54, Leinster, 54, Ulster 53, Cardiff Blues 52.
Four players have been presented with a glass crystal boot to commemorate their achievement in reaching 500 points in the Heineken Cup - Diego Dominguez, Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Jones and Neil Jenkins - and 10 players have so far qualified for Heineken Cup caps - Anthony Foley (Munster) 63, Chris Wyatt (Llanelli Scarlets) 54, Robin McBryde (Llanelli Scarlets) 53, Victor Costello (Leinster) 53, Fabien Pelous (Toulouse) 53, John Kelly (Munster) 51, Christian Labit (Toulouse) 51, Shane Byrne (Leinster) 51, John Hayes (Munster) 50, Graham Rowntree (Leicester Tigers) 50.
No player has yet reached the 25 try landmark earmarked for another special ERC Award.
ERC ELITE AWARDS, MOST APPEARANCES IN HEINEKEN CUP
(AS AT 5 DECEMBER, 2004)
63 Anthony Foley Munster
55 Chris Wyatt Llanelli Scarlets
53 Robin McBryde Llanelli Scarlets
53 Victor Costello Leinster
53 Fabien Pelous Toulouse
51 John Kelly Munster
51 Shane Byrne Leinster
51 Christian Labit Toulouse
50 John Hayes Munster
50 Graham Rowntree Leicester Tigers
49 Emile Ntamack Toulouse
49 Ronan O'Gara Munster
48 Peter Stringer Munster
47 Gary Longwell Ulster
46 Martin Johnson Leicester Tigers
46 Anthony Horgan Munster
46 Yannick Bru Toulouse
44 Neil Back Leicester Tigers
44 Reggie Corrigan Leinster
500 TOURNAMENT POINTS
645 Diego Dominguez (Stade Francais Paris/Milan)
640 Ronan O'Gara (Munster)
550 Stephen Jones (Llanelli Scarlets)
502 Neil Jenkins (Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors)
25 TOURNAMENT TRIES
(No award winner)
24 Michel Marfaing (Toulouse)
22 Dafydd James (Pontypridd 9, Llanelli 8, Bridgend 2, Celtic Warriors 1, Harlequins 2)
21 Emile Ntamack (Toulouse)
FOR THE RECORD . . . . GRAHAM ROWNTREE AND LEICESTER TIGERS' EUROPEAN BOWS
HEINEKEN CUP POOL B - WEDNESDAY, 16 OCTOBER, 1996
LEINSTER 10, LEICESTER 27
Two late tries enabled Leicester to gain victory in a contest much closer than the margin indicated at Lansdowne Road. Leinster's forwards had a distinct edge, but with Alan McGowan missing six penalties and other score opportunities not taken, the Tigers were able to triumph through the boot of Rob Liley. Leinster gained a penalty try for repeated offside in the first-half but despite being camped on Leicester's line, the Irish failed to punish the Tigers.
LEINSTER - P McKenna (Old Belvedere); P Gavin (Old Belvedere), K McQuilkin (Lansdowne), M Ridge (Old Belvedere), D O'Mahony (Lansdowne); A McGowan (Blackrock), A Rolland (Blackrock); H Hurley (Moseley), M McDermott (Lansdowne), P Wallace (Saracens), N Francis (Old Belvedere), M O'Kelly (London Irish), C Pim (Old Wesley), V Costello (London Irish), S Rooney (Lansdowne). Replacements: C Clarke (Terenure) for McKenna 9, R Governey (Lansdowne) for McQuilkin 67 Scorers - Try: Penalty try; Con: A McGowan; Pen: A McGowan
LEICESTER - G Austin; S Hackney, S Potter, W Greenwood (N Malone 27), L Lloyd; R Liley, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson (captain), M Poole, J Wells, E Miller, W Johnson Scorers - Tries: G Rowntree, A Kardooni, J Wells; Cons: R Liley 3; Pens: R Liley 2
Referee - J Dume (France)