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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The Scarlets, one of the two stand alone teams next season under Welsh rugby's new five-team regional structure, are the sole Welsh survivors in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals and are bidding to make it three Heineken Cup semi-finals in four years.
"Perpignan represent a huge challenge - there are no bad teams left in the tournament," said Gareth Jenkins, the Llanelli Director of Rugby. "These are the best eight sides in Europe at the moment and Perpignan are definitely one of those.
"We have played them three times in the Heineken Cup, winning once and losing twice, and as they were in our Pool last season, we are quite familiar with them.
"However, coach Nigel Davies and I went over to see them a couple of weeks ago, when they were playing Agen, and they are a different side nowadays.
"And that difference is one player - their Australian international fly half Manny Edmonds. He makes them play, he totally runs the show.
"They also have a very physical front five - huge in stature - and he is the one who really makes them tick.
"They will come here believing they can win and anyone thinking it is a foregone conclusion, that we will go through, can think again. We will have to be at our very best to get the result we want."
Llanelli were 49-17 Welsh Cup quarter-final winners over Neath last weekend and now face a minimum of two more successive knock-out missions.
On Friday it is Perpignan and a week Saturday it is Cardiff in the Welsh Cup semi-finals double-header at the Millennium Stadium.
But in the immediate future they are still unsure just which of their hookers will be fit for selection.
Wales star Robin McBryde and Marcus Thomas have both been injured, with youngster Aled Gravelle a new registration to their Heineken Cup squad.
"The hooking position is concerning us and it will be midweek before we will know exactly what our options will be in that key place," said Jenkins.
"We have converted Aled into a hooker - he played for Wales under 21 in the back row last season - and we believe he has great potential.
"However, potential is one thing and playing in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup is something else.
"But whatever the outcome of our problem at hooker, Stradey Park will be the place to be on Friday night - and we will certainly need that atmosphere. It could make all the difference between the two sides."