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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
"It was a huge win for us on two fronts," said Marco Bortolami, Aironi's former Italian international lock and Azzurri captain.
"It was the first win of the season for the club and now we can look forward with real confidence.
"Secondly, we proved ourselves against last season's Heineken Cup finalists and that is huge for us.
"We proved that we have quality and that we can play and it brings the self belief back into the team. Now we can start to believe we can compete against anyone - it is a whole new start for us.
"However, Friday night in Biarritz is going to be very tough for us. Our win will have put them on alert and when French teams are at home they play with so much more intensity so we are expecting that we must go and produce a repeat performance.
"Because now that we have that all important first win it is largely about momentum, we must put in a performance worthy of this weekend but we are under no illusion to how tough it is going to be."
Aironi, beaten by Ulster Rugby and Bath Rugby in their first ventures into the elite of European club rugby, are coached by former Wales flanker Rowland Phillips - and Bortolami believes the Welshman must take a large slice of credit for their success.
"In just a few weeks Rowland has really turned things around here," he said.
"His personality, his coaching technique and the way he approaches things come across very well and we all really respect him.
"I come from playing in England with the British mentality to training and playing and now Rowland is bringing this to the club and all the players are right behind it.
"It is really benefiting the younger players who are making huge strides forward under him. He is extremely professional and he is putting us on the right foot for the journey we have ahead.
"I think you can see from our recent performances - especially this last weekend - just what he was brought to the team."
While Aironi were recording that historic first Heineken Cup win, Toulouse and Northampton Saints maintained their winning ways, 28-16 at Glasgow Warriors and 23-15 at home to Cardiff Blues respectively.
They are the only three from three teams but another 12 sides have two wins to their credit in what is developing into a titanic tussle for quarter-final qualification.