Sunday 17 December 2017

French U-turn gives ERC venue headache

ERC are searching for a new host nation to stage the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals after the French Rugby Federation withdrew its application.

The FFR made the decision due to ongoing uncertainty over the availability of the Stade de France, although it had yet to officially the name the city or venue that would stage the event.

"The board of ERC will now seek proposals from the other participating nations in the tournaments and will aim to confirm the host city and venues by the end of June," read a statement released by ERC.

This season's finals were staged in Dublin, with the Heineken Cup's showpiece taking place at the Aviva Stadium.

Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium and Murrayfield will be in the running to replace the Stade de France.

Meanwhile, Toulon out-half Jonny Wilkinson has been forced to "take it easy for a few weeks" because of a torn groin muscle. The 34-year-old revealed he underwent an "operational injection" earlier this week and has been unable to train since.

The news makes any potential emergency call from the Lions – should coach Warren Gatland require injury cover – seem unlikely.

Wilkinson said: "I had to go in for a procedure on my groin on Monday that is going to keep me out for a couple of weeks. It is called an operational injection, a blood replacement injection, on a torn muscle I had in my left groin and upper part of my leg."

Irish Independent

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