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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Whilst the result did not go their way on the day, it was the first time that they had reached the knock-out stages since winning the tournament back in 1999 and after a taste of action out of the Pool stages, McLaughlin is targeting more of the same.
"Consolidation is one thing that we've talked about this year," said McLaughlin.
"Last year, to get to the quarter-final of the Heineken Cup was a huge leap for us.
"This season we want to be in a group where we are playing the best rugby sides.
"We're playing Clermont. Their form this season has been immense. They just totally thrashed Biarritz at the weekend. The week before that they go to Perpignan. They beat Perpignan at home, who haven't been beaten there for nearly two years. So, they're one of the top sides.
"Leicester, probably along with Toulouse, are the most consistent side in Europe.
"Aironi - we know them and we know the difficulties that they present.
"Over the next while we have to prove ourselves against that opposition."
"The most disappointing thing for us last year [against Northampton in the quarter-final] was that we played exceptionally well, but made too many mistakes.
"There were just little things that we've got to eradicate. And over the last few weeks there's been some inexperience from some of our younger players."
Ulster open their Heineken Cup campaign against ASM Clermont-Auvergne at Ravenhill on Saturday 12 November, kick-off 3.40pm.