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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Munster's Shaun Payne becoming the 46th player to pick up an ERC cap when he makes his 50th Heineken Cup appearance. The recently appointed Munster team manager is still playing and needs one more game to become the 11th player from the Province to join the ERC Elite cap club. Unlike the other 10, not all of Payne's appearances were for Munster - he made 22 appearances in the tournament for Swansea.
Munster's Ronan O'Gara move ever closer to breaking 900 points in the Heineken Cup. The tournament's leading scorer with 841, he needs 59 to stretch his tournament record. His points average per game in the Heineken Cup is 12.7.
His nearest rivals, who are still active in the tournament, have the following average: Stephen Jones (Scarlets - 669 pts / 59 games) 11.3
David Humphreys (Ulster - 554 / 55) 10
Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz Olympique - 346 / 38) 9.1
Andy Goode (Leicester Tigers - 341 / 40) 8.5
Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Toulouse - 316 / 32) 9.8
Felipe Contepomi (Leinster - 294 / 23) 12.7
Alex King (ASM Clermont Auvergne - 294 / 50) 5.8
Gavin Henson (Ospreys - 244 / 27) 9
David Skrela (Stade Francais Paris - 227 / 32) 7
Leinster's Felipe Contepomi become the 13th player in Heineken Cup history to top 300 points and become only the second non-European player to do so. The first was Cook Islands international Tommy Hayes, who notched 388 points for Glasgow Warriors. Contepomi needs four points to reach 300.
Irish international referee Alan Lewis edge ever closer to 50 Heineken Cup appearances when he controls the Round 1 game between Perpignan and the Dragons. That will take him to 46 matches in the tournament. England's Chris White and France's Joel Jutge are three behind him.
The return to Paris of Rugby World Cup final referee Alain Rolland. The Irish official will be at Stade Jean Bouin for the opening round match in Pool 3 between French champions Stade Francais Paris and Harlequins.
Leicester Tigers making their fifth trip to Dublin to face Leinster and playing at their third different venue. They made their debut in the tournament at Lansdowne Road in 1996, winning 27-10, but lost at Donnybrook on their next two visits in 1997 and 1999. They triumphed again in the 2005 quarter-final at Lansdowne Road. The Tigers have a 50% record on Irish soil in the Heineken Cup. As well as those two defeats to Leinster they suffered their record European defeat at Ravenhill when Ulster beat them 33-0 in 2003. Last season they became the first team to win at Thomond Park when they beat Munster 13-6.
Rugby World Cup hooking rivals Raphael Ibanez (London Wasps) and Jerry Flannery (Munster) going head-to-head at The Ricoh Stadium, Coventry, when the 'Pool of Death' kicks-off with a game between the reigning champions and the 2006 winners. French skipper Ibanez came out on top at the Pool stages in France 2007. The game will also feature a fascinating private battle between Irish scrum halves Eoin Reddan (Wasps) and Peter Stringer (Munster).