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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
"To be involved in Europe is the ultimate for players in the Northern hemisphere. Every club and every player strives to be involved so they can pit themselves against the best the Europe has to offer.
I remember the quarter final against Wasps, the semi-final against Llanelli, and the Final against Munster were all games we could have lost, I think what saw us through was out team spirit.
As we prepared in the changing room before the final, there was a good buzz, we just wanted to get out there and give it our all for the final 80 minutes of the season. It was a massive day for everybody involved, and we knew that if won we would be the best club in Europe.
When the game started I remember that we knew we had to get stuck in right at the start. We destroyed them in the first scrum and we could tell the Munster forwards did not know what was happening, and we just got stuck into them.
It was a see-saw type of game, with both teams unable to get ahead. Paul Grayson gave us a 9-8 lead with his third penalty, it was coming up to the last minute and I remember Ronan O'Gara missing a couple of penalties that you would expect a kicker of his class to put away, it was pretty tense standing under the posts!
I remember the last scrum of the game, it was still 9-8 and it could have gone either way, the referee said last scrum and we managed to clear the ball, the whistle went and everybody was 'pretty happy'.
As we were going up the steps to collect the trophy I turned around to Tim Rodber and asked him to raise the Cup with me. Tim had been the captain for the last five years, and he's a legend in English rugby and especially Northampton.
The whole day was just so special for people like Tim who had played all their rugby at Northampton. There was a lot of emotion, and everybody was very very happy. The support for Northampton was just unbelievable.
The Heineken Cup has just got bigger and better and better, and nowadays every clubs strives to get to the Heineken Cup. Rugby players are the same as footballers, they all want to play in the Champions League, that's where the attention is, that's where the best rugby is and that's where top players want to be playing. It's a massive day for everyone involved."
THE 2000 FINAL
27 May, 2000 Twickenham Attendance: 68,441
NORTHAMPTON 9 MUNSTER 8
NORTHAMPTON: P Grayson; C Moir, A Bateman, M Allen, B Cohen; A Hepher, D Malone (J Bramhall 63); G Pagel, D Mendez, M Stewart (M Scelzo 67), A Newman (J Phillips 70), T Rodber, D Mackinnon, B Pountney, P Lam (capt)
Scorer: Penalty goals - P Grayson 3
MUNSTER: D Crotty (K Keane 72); J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; P Clohessy, K Wood, J Hayes, M Galwey (capt), J Langford, E Halvey, D Wallace, A Foley
Scorers: Try - D Wallace; Drop goal - J Holland
Yellow card: M Galwey (65)
Referee: J Dume (France)