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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
In the tightest and most competitive competition of all time there are still 13 teams in with a shout of making the prestigious last eight. It all adds up to just who will be left standing and just who will have fallen come Sunday afternoon as, for the first time, matches in the same Pool will kick-off simultaneously.
Edinburgh Rugby stand as the sole quarter-final qualifiers so far but they travel to defending champions Toulouse with priceless home advantage in the quarter-finals on the line.
Defeat at Stade Ernest Wallon would mean a plunge in the rankings to seven or eight for the Scottish standard bearers - and no team drawn away from home in the quarter-finals has ever gone on to lift European club rugby's most coveted piece of silverware.
It all kicks-off in a big way on Friday night with Leicester Tigers and Stade Francais Paris playing for Pool 1 honours and the non-stop action goes through to Sunday afternoon when Pool 4 will be decided at Franklin's Gardens when Northampton Saints tangle with Llanelli Scarlets.Along the way the two deciders in France will be settled. In addition to the Toulouse showdown, Biarritz Olympique will be looking to deny Leinster Lions at the last Pool 3 hurdle after reviving their qualifying hopes at Sale yesterday (Sunday) with a first win on English soil.