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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
"Ever since the Heineken Cup draw was made over the summer and we knew that we had drawn Leicester, I have been really looking forward to this game," he said.
"There's an awful lot of excitement around this game because there's great respect between the two clubs and there has been a good bit of banter. I made some very good friends with a lot of people over there but I'm sure that they will be put to one side for 80 minutes and we'll be kicking lumps out of one another!
"There will be no mixed emotions. I will always remember the good times I had over there, but Leinster is my home province and the team I want to play for.
"Fingers crossed I'll be involved because Lewis Moody and Martin Corry are two players I really look up to. If you look right across their pack they have huge experience; Julian White, Martin Castrogiovanni and George Chuter to name but three.
"The likes of Brett Deacon and Luke Abraham are serious quality players. I know that they train their asses off they will be keen to take any opportunities that come their way. They have been plying their trade in the league and may be in the squad. They have a lot of strength in depth.
"Saturday will be a great test to see what we're made of. It will provide a massive opportunity to show off all our hard work over the last few weeks and months
"There's great history between the two sides. I remember even from my schooldays going to Donnybrook to see the huge contests between the two clubs around 10 years ago. I remember the impact Eric Miller - who also played for both clubs - had when he moved, but I'm also aware that the last time Leinster faced Leicester they did a job on us in the Quarter Finals of the Heineken Cup.
"There are a lot of new faces in the Leicester squad. They have brought in quite a few playing additions and have a new coach in Marcelo Loffreda, who will add a new dimension to their play and will obviously have his own ideas. Richard Cockerill's approach will be no different. He will be looking for a good set-piece and Andy Key is another member of their back-room team who does a good job in preparing the backs.
"From myself and Leo (Cullen's) perspective, there is another dimension to the game given how we enjoyed some success with Leicester over the last two years. You can also say the same for Leicester because there are a number of players in their squad who have connections with Leinster. The important thing to remember is that the game is bigger than individuals.
"I'm sure both sets of players are really looking forward to the game. Leicester are a strong outfit, with a huge history in the competition, but they're only human. We will have massive support again behind us and that will be a big factor in our favour.
"The most important thing is Leinster's performance and that we start the competition off strongly in the RDS."