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ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.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 was in the first Heineken Cup final to involve an Irish province, when David Humphreys led the men from the north to glorious European glory over Colomiers at the old Lansdowne Road. Humphreys is still involved with the club and he is expecting tens of thousands of Ulstermen and women to head to Dublin to transport the Ravenhill roar to the Aviva.
"My message to Edinburgh Rugby fans is to buy tickets as soon as possible and pack out the stadium before the Ulster lads get in," Bradley said on a reconnaissance trip to the Aviva ahead of the semi-final.
"It was a big advantage to us to have close on 40,000 supporters at Murrayfield for the Toulouse game. It was a really big factor in the last 20 minutes of the game and, hopefully, the Edinburgh and Scottish supporters in general will make the commitment and travel to Dublin.
"People might say that our away form hasn't been that good, but we're not worried about form when you're looking ahead to a one-off match in Europe. We've played a lot of good rugby and we'll have a lot of confidence going into the game.
"The fact that we're playing away from home isn't an issue, but the fact that we're playing Ulster is. They're playing well and they have a lot of rugby intelligence and they'll be very difficult to break down. "
More than 30,000 tickets for the game at the Aviva Stadium have been snapped up already and all the signs are that Edinburgh will be playing in front of the biggest crowd in their history.
And former Ireland skipper Bradley revealed on his recce at the Aviva that some Irish knowledge had gone into the planning ahead of the victory over Toulouse.
"We did our own work on Toulouse, but we did talk to Eric Elwood and Dan McFarland at Connacht, who obviously had played Toulouse twice in the pool stages, just to make sure that what we were thinking was correct. And then Eric and Dan were the first to get in touch after the game to congratulate us," said Bradley.
Whether or not Bradley will be able to consult his old coaching colleague Elwood about the strengths and weaknesses of Ulster is a different matter. Ulster holds the whip hand in recent encounters, having secured a PRO12 double over their Scottish rivals this season and won four of their last five meetings, and Bradley was impressed by what he saw in their quarter-final win over Munster.
"I wasn't surprised by the result at Thomond Park because Ulster have been playing so well. Munster have struggled to put their top 15 on the park all season, and Doug Howlett has been a big loss, Paul O'Connell went in with an injury and David Wallace was coming back from injury," added Bradley..
"They're the type of players you want ever-present coming into matches. Ulster had a clean bill of health, and they deserved it.
"They did a number on Munster and obviously it was extremely unusual to see a side go 19 points up at Thomond Park.They dismissed Munster during that opening period," he said.
"In fairness to Munster, they recalibrated and made a match of it in the second half. Like ourselves, Ulster will be coming to the Aviva with a lot of confidence and they'll be favourites - but that's okay, we're used to that."
Edinburgh's counter-attacking style, using their brilliant back-three, has carried them further than ever before in Europe and Bradley has no plans to change the style with the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham Stadium within touching distance.
"When I went for the job part of the reason was the type of rugby Edinburgh play. They've always had that tradition of playing open, attacking rugby, and I felt I could bring something extra to the other elements of the game such as defence, a bit more structure, and I think it's worked out because we're becoming a bit more difficult to read and our defence is improving."