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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Toulouse are firm favourites to beat Cardiff Blues but those who backed the 6-4 favourites when they were 14-1 (I know some of these people) could yet have a difficult Sunday afternoon's viewing.
The Blues were brilliant in Bristol and with Nicky Robinson probably fit are boosted further. Toulouse will be hard to beat but Biarritz showed they are far from unstoppable last Friday. Martyn Williams and Xavier Rush are the keys here. The Blues have to control the breakdown and the tempo. Do that and the 14-1 boys will be very nervous, I promise you.
I can see Saracens being much better than they were in the EDF semi final pasting against the Ospreys but not turning it around enough to win; having written that I am not as convinced about the Ospreys as those flocking onto their side for the rest of the Heineken Cup.
As for London Irish against Perpignan, it is your call; on the balance of the two pool encounters between the teams, Perpignan look slightly the better side but if Nick Kennedy can do to the French line out what he did to Bath's in the second half at the Rec recently, that set piece dominance with home advantage could shade it.
The tournament winner might not (be bold, will not) come from this fixture but it is shaping up as the tightest of the four. So much for predictions, now for the action, I cannot wait.