The inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup is set to explode into action in mid-October with two compelling weekends of heavyweight clashes between European club rugby's professional elite. Leinster, Munster and Ulster will all face English opponents in the opening round.
The two highest profile matches in the 2014/15 European club rugby calendar will be staged in the English capital following EPCR's announcement that London is set to host the finals of the new-look European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup tournaments.
Rob Murphy caught up with Connacht prop Ronan Loughney to discuss the province's Heineken Cup round 4 loss to Biarritz Olympique, which was played in very wet conditions at the Parc des Sports Aguilera.
Speaking to Rob Murphy after Connacht's 17-0 defeat at Biarritz, head coach Eric Elwood said: "We ideally wanted to come here and build on last week's performance and play rugby. But when you have conditions like that, they become a great leveller and we had to go toe-to-toe with a heavyweight in their big pack. The effort and courage of the guys was magnificent though."
Speaking after Connacht's memorable 22-14 defeat of Biarritz Olympique, head coach Eric Elwood said: "We've shown a lot of faith in the young guys - if you play well, you'll stay in the team. Mick Kearney, Jason Harris-Wright, Dave McSharry and Robbie Henshaw...they were magnificent. They looked comfortable in that environment. That's what we're about, bringing those young, indigenous players through."
Connacht's Ireland-capped lock Mike McCarthy turned in a man-of-the-match performance as the province downed French giants Biarritz Olympique at the Sportsground. He spoke to Rob Murphy after the famous 22-14 win.
ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath spoke to Irish Rugby TV this week at the draw for the 2012/13 Heineken Cup pool stages. The final will take place at the Aviva Stadium on May 18 with the final of the Amlin Challenge Cup on May 17 at the RDS.
Connacht's retiring CEO Gerry Kelly spoke to Irish Rugby TV at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday and gave us his reaction to the draw for the 2012/13 Heineken Cup pool stages. Connacht have been drawn in the same pool as old rivals Harlequins, French side Biarritz Olympique and new Italian team Zebre.
Irish Rugby TV spoke to Leinster CEO Mick Dawson immediately after the draw for the 2012/13 Heineken Cup pool stages. He gave us his reaction to Leinster being pitted against Clermont Auvergne, the Scarlets and Exeter Chiefs in Pool 5.
ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath presents the 2012 ERC European Player of the Year award to Leinster full-back Rob Kearney. Afterwards, he spoke of his pride at being selected for the award and gave 'a huge thanks' to his team-mates, the coaching staff and backroom team.
Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt, captain Leo Cullen and full-back Rob Kearney spoke at the post-match press conference in the aftermatch of their third Heineken Cup final success in four years. With their European crown retained, Leinster will chase a prized double against the Ospreys next week.
Speaking after Leinster retained the Heineken Cup in the all-Irish final against Ulster, out-half Jonathan Sexton said: "I think the scoreline definitely flattered us. It was a really tough game, the Ulster boys and all of us were saying we've never been so tired. It was a good advert for Irish rugby and a great occasion for the support."
Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin reflects on his final match in charge of the province - the Heineken Cup final defeat to Leinster - and hooker Rory Best also answered questions during the post-match press conference at Twickenham.
New Zealand prop John Afoa talks about Ulster bouncing back from their 42-14 Heineken Cup final defeat to Leinster at Twickenham. The prop praised the efforts of his team-mates and the vocal and colourful support provided by the fans.
Prop Mike Ross and team manager Guy Easterby preview Leinster's bid for their second Heineken Cup success in-a-row. Ross and his team-mates are gearing up to face provincial rivals Ulster in Saturday's final at Twickenham.
Centre Darren Cave is relishing Ulster's Heineken Cup final showdown with Leinster at Twickenham. He says he is 'very proud' to be representing the Ulster fans, recognising that he is 'just another supporter who is lucky enough to wear the shirt for a couple of years'.
Ulster hooker Rory Best talks about the build-up to Saturday's Heineken Cup final showdown with Leinster at Twickenham, and what it would mean to emulate the province's European title-winning heroes of 1999.
Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin and captain Johann Muller give their thoughts ahead of the province's first European Cup decider in 13 years - they meet provincial rivals Leinster at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Aviva Stadium and the RDS will host next year's Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals respectively. Speaking at the announcement, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: "It will be a great rugby weekend. What better city to do it in than Dublin? We've a reputation for being good hosts and here's an opportunity for us to show it to the rugby world."