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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
That tally means they will end the Pool stages ranked in one of the top three positions - only the unbeaten Northampton Saints and reigning champions Toulouse can get more than 24 points when they play away this weekend - guaranteeing them a home game in the last eight on the weekend of 8-10 April.
"This was a particularly hard group, so to top it and get to play at home in the knock-out stages is pretty special - it is a tribute to all concerned," said Leinster team manager Guy Easterby.
Leinster are unbeaten at home in nine matches in all competitions this season and will now have to decide where to play their quarter-final once they know who their opponents will be. While they have turned the RDS into a fortress, two of their best displays this season have come at the new Aviva Stadium.
There was a Magners League victory over Munster and a Heineken Cup triumph over ASM Clermont Auvergne and a full house is more or less assured wherever they take the game.
It is the eighth time in 10 seasons that Leinster have made the knock-out stages. They were champions in 2009 and reached the semi-finals last season before being beaten by Toulouse.
"We'll take confidence going into the quarter-finals after our efforts in the Pool stages. Even though we had already qualified we really wanted a home draw and it was a good performance in Paris," said Heineken man of the match Sean O'Brien.
"We had a job to do and we're pleased that we managed to do it. It has been a good last few weeks across the board."