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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Ebbw Vale, who have confirmed they have agreed to merge with Newport in the event of Welsh rugby adopting provincial teams, gave themselves a massive lift with a battling 10-6 victory over Pontypridd at Sardis Road in the Welsh Premiership last Saturday.
"We have not had huge success away from home this season, the boys have often let themselves down in terms of performance," said former Wales centre Hopkins.
"But when we have gone to France and Spain in the PARKER PEN SHIELD the players have fronted up - just as they did at Pontypridd.
"We wanted them to match what they had been doing in Europe and they did.
"We will study some videos of Pau this week but we expect them to be a typical French side - strong and robust up front, not taking a backward step, with plenty of pace behind.
"It will be a case of trying to do what we did at Pontypridd, gaining their respect and taking the opportunities we create.
"With the home and away formula you get two bites of the cherry and, if we perform to our full potential, they will know they have been in a game - both at Ebbw Vale and over in Pau.
"The PARKER PEN SHIELD is great for the development of younger players and last year the tournament kick-started our season so we are very keen to do well in the tournament this year."