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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
A mere 5,000 of the 48,000 tickets available for the mouthwatering semi-final clash with crack French outfit Perpignan were left with five days to go to Sunday's 2.45pm kick-off and all the indications are they will all be gone by the weekend.
It means that Leinster will have played in front of the two biggest non-Heineken Cup final crowds in the eight year history of the tournament in their quarter-final and semi-final matches against French opposition.
There were 45,000 at the home of Irish rugby to see Brian O'Driscoll's side beat Biarritz Olympique 18-13 two weeks ago. Biarritz brought around 600 fans with them for that game and Perpignan are expected to have the same number in Dublin this weekend.
"The clubs had 12 weeks to sell the tickets fort the quarter-final and between them they created a tournament record crowd outside of a final. It was a great achievement and the game was a great spectacle," said ERC chief executive Derek McGrath.
"The challenge presented to ERC for the semi-final at Lansdowne Road was even greater given the shorter lead in time to the game. Perpignan have rallied a significant number of fans to make the trip to Dublin and, once again, the reaction from the Leinster supporters has been remarkable.
"It meant that in only five working days we had sold a Heineken Cup semi-final record 43,000 tickets for Sunday's game and all the indications are that the final few thousand will be snapped up before kick-off.
"With the other semi-final at Le Stadium de Toulouse, between Toulouse and Munster, already a 36,000 sell-out, it means we will have more than 80,000 people at the two matches this weekend - a 30,000 increase on the two matches at the same stage last season."
The match in Toulouse on Saturday will be the 501st Heineken Cup match since the ERC run tournament kicked-off on 30 October, 1995 with a match between Farul Constanta and Toulouse in Romania.
It will also be the 50th game between Irish and French teams in the tournament. The Irish lead 27-21, with one drawn match.
The final few tickets for Sunday's game at Lansdowne Road will be available from the IRFU offices at 62, Lansdowne Road up until kick-off, although the offices will be closed on Saturday.
Tickets can also be purchased from these main outlets - Elvery's, on Dawson Street, and the Spar shop at Donnybrook.