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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Seven penalties from star scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili saw Biarritz ease the pain of two previous Heineken Cup Final defeats in 2006 and 2010 as they bounced back from a disappointing domestic season in which they finished a lowly ninth in the Top 14.
And having looked like missing out on a place in Europe's premier club competition next time out until their Amlin heroics, former France full back Blanco is predicting big things when the Heineken Cup kicks off again in the autumn.
"It is obvious that this trophy means so much to us because we twice lost in Heineken Cup finals against Munster and Toulouse," said Blanco, whose side won nine of their last 11 fixtures this season.
"The value of this trophy is equal to the effort we made to finish the season well.
"It's a relief to get our ticket for the Heineken Cup next year. Everybody knew that our goal was Heineken Cup qualification this season. We could have finished seventh in the league with a little more success in a few games but, believe me, we have no reason to envy anyone.
"History has shown that when a team wins the Amlin Challenge Cup, that team is competitive the following year when they step into the Heineken Cup.
"I'm confident about the future of the club. I've always been confident in my players and my coaches. I know the value of my team, the weaknesses and the strengths.
"I'm becoming more and more convinced by our young players. And with the experience they've had this year, together with the influence of our key players, they will take the next step very quickly.
"Even with the difficulties we had at the beginning of the season, we have shown that we can be as good as any other team. We've improved after a difficult start and that's something special."