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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
When ERC announced in October that the final of this prestigious tournament would be returning to Dublin for the second time in its history, everyone connected with the city was overwhelmed. The Irish capital is a superb venue for a whole range of sporting activities, but it has a special place in its heart for visiting rugby union fans.
We have already seen five great Heineken Cup ties in Dublin this season, with our own Leinster Lions beating Bristol, Swansea and Montferrand at Donnybrook, Biarritz at a packed Lansdowne Road and finally losing out in the semi-final to mighty Perpignan last weekend, and the game on 24 May will be the pick of the bunch.
Toulouse are renowned throughout European rugby as being the Real Madrid of the professional club game and, from what I saw and heard last weekend, Perpignan, with their close links with Spain, are like Barcelona.
I'm sure the players will be excited at the prospect of playing at an international venue of the stature of Lansdowne Road and I know that Dublin will be throwing open its doors to every French rugby fan who travels to watch the game.
Great events are made by great teams playing in front of great crowds at great stadia. I think we've got the right cocktail for a fantastic day in Dublin on 24 May and I urge every serious sports fan in France, Ireland and the UK not to miss out.
Councillor Dermot Lacey
LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN