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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Jutge is pretty well known to the Gloucester players having twice taken charge of them in away matches in the Heineken Cup . . . at Thomond Park, Limerick.
"We've had Joel in both our away games against Munster this season and last and lost both games. We're hoping it's going to be third time lucky for us," said Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Melville.
"We did request an English referee for the game because we felt it could have improved the game because not only would he have known both sides, but the players of both teams would have known him.
"We would love to be able to sit down with Joel before the game to iron out a few points. If we could do that with Warren Gatland on the Friday or Saturday before the game in order to get some clarity I think that would be beneficial."
Like his opposite number at Wasps, former Irish coach Gatland, Melville has been forced to try to reintegrate his international players into his line-up in double quick time following the Six Nations.
It means both sides will be going into the knock-out phase of the Heineken Cup having played only one game with their full side available to them.
"We are in cup football mode which means there can be no messing around. If you lose, you are out of it," said Melville.
"The fact we are still in the hunt for the Heineken Cup and the Zurich Premiership play-offs has given us all a lift and there is a real buzz about the place this week. This is a very cut throat business and it is up to us to ensure we stay on track for the titles.
"We could have four games left to play or we could have eight. It really is down to the players.
"They all know that if they keep on winning then they are in for a fantastic end to the season."