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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Defending champions and double winners Toulouse are the only quarter-finalists who have lifted European club rugby's most coveted prize, though Munster and Stade Franà§ais Paris have both made it to the season's showpiece occasion.
"We will follow the competition with great pleasure," said Jo Maso, manager of 2004 Grand Slam winners France. "Three French clubs are through to the quarter-finals and you could say the national team has shown the clubs the way.
"However, they are up against tough opposition - I saw the Wasps game against Perpignan early in the season and Wasps are a fantastic side.
"The run of wins with the French team will have an euphoric effect on the players involved as they return to their clubs, and that will rub off onto their team-mates.
"It will have given them confidence which is what a lot of these young players need. Now they will go back and now make even more progress with their clubs.
"I think Edinburgh are going to pose some problems for Toulouse and Guy Noves knows that his side can't allow themselves to be below their top level of play.
"Biarritz Olympique and Stade Francais both have tough challenges, but not impossible ones. Perpignan showed last season what it is possible to achieve. So, all in all, I think we can be hopeful about the Heineken Cup quarter-finals."