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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
"This weekend is going to be exceptional in the Heineken Cup," said the Irish prop. "There are so many important games it is going to be a real treat.
"We always knew it was going to come down to winning in Biarritz to get through to the quarter-finals. We know how difficult it is to go through the pool stages unbeaten and we did not expect there to be many teams with five out of five.
"We did get off to a flying start with our home win over Biarritz Olympique in the first round, but we have slowed down a bit since then.
"I think there was still a bit of euphoria at the time in the wake of the World Cup, but the Christmas break did not favour us. We were a bit slower after that.
"We have had injury problems, difficulties at No 10, that defeat at home by Sale Sharks was not in the plans and, with their home crowd urging them on, it is going to be a big day in Biarritz.
"They are going to be pretty serious about this one. I played there two years ago on a terrible night and they beat us well. I am sure they are going to be up for this one.
"But nothing has changed in our minds. We knew we would have to go and do a job in Biarritz and we still feel we are good enough to do that.
"We are a bit thin on the ground at the moment with Brian O'Driscoll ruled out, Eric Miller suffering from shoulder problems and Des Dillon now out for three weeks, also with a shoulder injury, but we will just have to get on with the job. We were without Christian Warner against Cardiff and we hope he will be fit."
Biarritz Olympique coach Patrice Lagisquet saw his side keep their quarter-final hopes alive with an historic first win on English soil at Sale Sharks yesterday (Sunday) to keep the Pool 3 pot on the boil.
"Every match in the Heineken Cup is a knock-out match - and this match against Leinster Lions is no exception," he said.
"I think that yesterday the players realised the potential that is in the team and we produced some good rugby.
"However, we have to be more efficient in our set-pieces and defence if we are going to do a job on Leinster. As long as we get a victory on Saturday, and prevent Leinster from taking a bonus point, that will be enough for us.
"Our team needs to be pushed to get the best out of it so, while we are pleased with our away win, we have to consolidate that performance at Aguilera."
International scrum half Dimitri Yachvilli added: "Sunday's match was a vital step in our campaign - we had to win away from home to make it count.
"We are doubly motivated for this match on Saturday - our qualification to the quarter-finals depends on it and we want to get revenge for our defeat to Leinster in Round 1. Our heavy loss in December is very fresh in our minds and I would expect the players to come out and produce a good performance this weekend to make up for that. It is going to be a big challenge but we have the bit between our teeth and we don't want to let go now."