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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The squad resumes full training on Wednesday before Friday's departure for the Abruzzo region, where they face a L'Aquila team buoyed by Sunday's 14-9 victory over much-fancied Italian title contenders Arix Vidana.
That victory leaves L'Aquila (literally meaning 'The Eagle') at eighth place in the Findomestic Super 10 league, after a turbulent last month which saw their French coach Jacques Fouroux dismissed from his position.
L'Aquila's victory came despite their inspirational captain, Italian prop Andrea Lo Cicero, being absent with a knee injury which will also rule him out of the back-to-back matches with Newcastle.
Five times champion of Italy, L'Aquila won its first 'Scudetto' back in 1967, followed by further titles in 1969, 1981, 1982 and 1994, as well as lifting the Coppa Italia (Italian domestic Cup) in 1973 and 1981.
Falcons director of rugby, Rob Andrew, will name his side for the match on Thursday afternoon.