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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
"We had not faced foreign teams for quite some time so we are pleased to do that now," he said. "It is a very entertaining and attractive competition and allows us to compete against some of the biggest squads that exist - like Gloucester for instance.
"They are a huge name in English rugby and we followed their progress in the first two rounds of the Amlin Challenge Cup. They proved to be fierce competitors and they certainly did not spare Rovigo.
"So, although we are aware of the level and experience of the Gloucester players, we still have our part to play and we will go into this game without any hint of an inferiority complex and we owe it to our fans to give a good performance at home.
"We do not want to put unnecessary pressure on our shoulders but we are determined to do our best to get a win and that is how we will approach both matches against them.
"There is a home European quarter-final up for grabs and if we can manage that it would be a brilliant experience.
"Luckily we have made it two out of two so far in the Amlin Challenge Cup and are top of our Pool so that is great but, to be honest, being competitive on the European scene wasn't our main priority so it comes as a pleasant surprise to see that we can play in both the Top 14 and the Amlin.
"Coming from ProD2 the club was not used to European competition but we go into any game with the intention to perform and to win so we will try to keep our momentum going.
"Having played for Brive before joining La Rochelle I did have some experience of the Amlin Challenge Cup so I knew that the levels of those involved can be very mixed but it gives you a great opportunity to face new teams with different styles of rugby and it is beneficial for all."
La Rochelle last played in the tournament in the 2001 / 2002 season - when Gloucester Rugby beat them home and away - but Neveu believes the team spirit among the squad can make them serious challengers this time.
"Being promoted to the Top 14 was an awesome experience - it really was a special year for us," he said. "We desperately wanted to be part of the elite again and we were totally committed and dedicated as a group, proving we could produce some top level rugby.
"Our group is pretty much the same as the one that earned promotion so we are still very united and we did not need much adjustment going into the new season. There were a couple of new players who joined pre-season but they quickly found their feet.
"We see each match as a final, so we have that same frame of mind whatever the fixture. We are ready to face any challenge and so far we are not doing too badly.
"Before the autumn internationals we managed to win 22-14 against the French champions Clermont in Round 12 of the Top 14, which was very encouraging, and resuming our work on the back of that victory puts us in good shape to face the forthcoming fixtures. Having said that we are not in any way complacent and there are many other challenges ahead - starting with the back-to-back matches against Gloucester."