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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
In this edition, we review the Llanelli v Leicester Tigers game of January 12 2002...
HEINEKEN CUP POOL 1 - ROUND 4: JAN 12 2002
Llanelli 24 Leicester 12
Leicester 's hopes of gaining a home draw in the last eight of the Heineken Cup were dented at Stradey Park as Llanelli gained revenge over the Tigers.
The English giants needed a win of any kind to make sure of a home tie in thequarter finals - but they were undone by a wonderful effort by an under strength Llanelli side.
In the end it was Wales fly half Stephen Jones who won the day with eight Penalties.
Despite having already clinched qualification for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, Leicester Tigers arrived at Stradey Park fired up and immediately set about unsettling a nervous Llanelli pack.
Andy Goode kicked two quick penalties to open up a six point gap but Llanelli gradually worked their way into the match with Scott Quinnell leading from the front.
Stephen Jones penalty reduced the deficit after 18 minutes and the Scarlets showed their mettle .
The two kickers swapped penalties to take the Tigers into a 12-9 lead, but Jones was soon back on the mark.
A series of accurate kicks in the five minutes leading up to half-time the Wales fly half had turned the scorecard around to make it 15-12 to the hosts.
Darren Garforth saw yellow for deliberate offside at a ruck just before the interval, and without the burly forward, Llanelli pressured the Leicester line. Garforth's return was greeted with a measurable sense of relief from the Leicester pack, and a standing ovation from the massive band of travelling Tigers' fans.
Llanelli started the second-half the better and their much lauded defensive qualities were preventing Leicester from gaining the upper hand as they were so used to doing.
Jones' sixth kick - after Steve Booth was penalised for using Martyn Madden as a doormat- increased Llanelli's lead to 18-12.
It was thrilling stuff with Leicester becoming increasingly desperate to break down Llanelli's rearguard.
When Jones added his magnificent seventh penalty, it was all but curtains for the Tigers. His eighth was the icing on the cake and the win was secured.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory and though the Scarlets are still smarting after last week's hammering in Perpignan, this victory more than makes up for that with the carrot of quarter-final qualification collected, the Scarlets must now prepare for a battle with 1998 Heineken Cup champions Bath.
**What are your memories of this game, click here to have your say on the ercrugby.com forum
Penalties: S Jones (8)
Penalties - A Goode (4)
Llanelli: G Evans; W Proctor, N Boobyer, L Davies, S Finau; S Jones, G Easterby; M Madden, R McBryde, J Davies, V Cooper, C Wyatt, S Easterby, D Hodges, S Quinnell (capt)
Replacements: P Booth, M Thomas, L Gross, D Jones, D Peel, G Bowen
Leicester Tigers: G Murphy; S Booth, L Lloyd, R Kafer, O Smith; A Goode, J Hamilton; G Rowntree, D West, D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), L Deacon, L Moody, J Kronfeld, M Corry
Referee: R Dickson (Scotland)
WHAT THEY SAID...
'All credit to the forwards they were magnificent. I am absolutely
delighted that we are through to the last eight - now it's just a case of waiting to see who we will play.
'It was a tough ask for us, but the boys came up with the goods and the crowd were right behind us from start to finish.'
And man of the match Quinnell paid tribute to his players when he said,
'We put our bodies on the line and deserved to win this game. we came close in Leicester and though we were not really looking for revenge, it was great to beat a side of Leicester's quality.'
'It's a huge boost to have all of our key players available after starting off the week with a few knocks and niggles,' said Llanelli team manager Anthony Buchanan.
'We have had a good week on the training pitch and are now just ready to get on with the job in hand.
'This is a huge game for us, they don't come any bigger than this. It ranks up there with some of the famous matches we've played against touring sides like New Zealand, its that big.
'Leicester are the top team in Europe with a formidable reputation and you don't achieve what they have achieved without living up to that reputation on the pitch.
'We believe with the support behind us we can make this a day to remember for Llanelli and Welsh Rugby. We have an opportunity to show what we can do and rise to the occasion and we will do everything in our power to take it.'