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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Hayes became the third Munster player to reach his half-century in the defeat in France at Castres Olympique last weekend. He was one of two international props to qualify for his Heineken Cup cap as England and Leicester Tigers' Graham Rowntree also reached 50 against London Wasps on Sunday.
Of the first 10 players to make 50 Heineken Cup appearances to date, all bar Kelly are forwards. Munster skipper Anthony Foley was the first player to reach the landmark.
Hayes made his Heineken Cup debut in the home game at the start of the 1998/99 campaign in a win over Padova. Since then, he has missed only two games and been a replacement once and the game in Castres was his 21st successive start.
Next in line for an ERC Elite Award cap for 50 games is Hayes' Munster team mate Ronan O'Gara. He will bring up his half-century at a packed Thomond Park on Saturday when Castres travel to Ireland.
But the Irish outside half will also have another Heineken Cup landmark in his sights. Having helped himself to 32 points in the three games to date this season, he needs only six more to pass Diego Dominguez as the competition's leading points scorer.
Dominguez scored 645 (Milan 64 in 6 games, Stade Francais Paris 581 in 36 games) in 42 matches.
ERC introduced their Elite Awards scheme last season. They are to recognise and reward the glittering list of elite players and teams who have made outstanding contributions to the northern hemisphere's leading club rugby tournament.
ERC Elite Awards have so far been presented to seven teams for playing 50 games in the tournament - Toulouse 66, Munster 64, Llanelli Scarlets 58, Leicester Tigers 55, Leinster, 55, Ulster 54, Cardiff Blues 53.
Four players have been presented with a glass crystal boot to commemorate their achievement in reaching 500 points in the Heineken Cup - Diego Dominguez, Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Jones and Neil Jenkins.
Today (Tuesday, 7 December) Kelly and Hayes become the seventh and eighth players to receive their caps. The following 10 players have qualified to receive them - Anthony Foley (Munster) 63, Chris Wyatt (Llanelli Scarlets) 55, Robin McBryde (Llanelli Scarlets) 53, Victor Costello (Leinster) 53, Fabien Pelous (Toulouse) 53, John Kelly (Munster) 51, Christian Labit (Toulouse) 51, Shane Byrne (Leinster) 51, John Hayes (Munster) 50, Graham Rowntree (Leicester Tigers) 50.