Ireland's Alain Rolland has been appointed to referee his third Heineken Cup final when Toulon and Saracens meet in Cardiff on Saturday, May 24. The former scrum half also refereed the 2004 and 2013 European deciders.
The Cardiff 2014 finals match official appointments were announced today following a meeting of the ERC Match Officials sub-committee.
The meeting reviewed match official performances across all relevant tournaments in conjunction with feedback from the referee managers in each Union and from club coaching staff.
Alain Rolland refereed the 2004 Heineken Cup final between London Wasps and Toulouse as well as last season's decider between Toulon and Clermont Auvergne at the Aviva Stadium.
Saturday, May 24 will mark the end of the Dubliner's distinguished refereeing career in European tournaments. His assistant referees for the game in the Welsh capital will be Nigel Owens (Wales) and George Clancy (Ireland).
Meanwhile, France's Jerome Garces has been appointed as referee for the Amlin Challenge Cup final between Bath and Northampton Saints at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, May 23.
The Challenge Cup final will be Garces' 40th European fixture and he will be assisted by fellow Frenchmen Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere.
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HEINEKEN CUP FINAL:
Saturday, May 24 -
Toulon v Saracens, Millennium Stadium, 5pm
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland); Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), George Clancy (Ireland); TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales); Citing Commissioner: Douglas Hunter (Scotland)
AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP FINAL:
Friday, May 23 -
Bath v Northampton Saints, Cardiff Arms Park, 8pm
Referee: Jerome Garces (France); Assistant Referees: Romain Poite, Pascal Gauzere (both France); TMO: Eric Gauzins (France); Citing Commissioner: Murray Whyte (Ireland)
Ruan Pienaar has represented Ulster the same amount of times that he has played for South Africa - 80 times. The knee injury that he sustained against the All Blacks in the summer has meant that he has not been able to add to his tally for either province or country in recent months. However, he says that his return to play is edging closer:
Looking forward to the new GUINNESS PRO12 season, Connacht captain John Muldoon said: "We've a lot of younger guys who have big years ahead of them and a few big name signings who will hopefully be able to fit into the system and work hard among the ethos of Connacht Rugby."
Irish Rugby TV was at the launch of the GUINNESS PRO12 and we caught up with Jamie Heaslip, Pat Lam, John Muldoon, Matt O'Connor and Rory Sheridan of Diageo as the new sponsor gets ready to kick off an exciting season.
Out-half Dan Parks had a vital role in Connacht's historic Heineken Cup triumph in Toulouse, kicking two penalties, a drop goal and the touchline conversion of Kieran Marmion's try. He spoke to Rob Murphy after the game.
Rob Murphy caught up with Gavin Duffy after Connacht's inspirational defeat of Toulouse in the Heineken Cup, with the Mayo man giving an insight into how they produced such a high quality performance against the French giants.
Young scrum half Kieran Marmion was one of Connacht's star performers in their famous 16-14 Heineken Cup victory away to Toulouse, scoring a crucial second half try and picking up the man-of-the-match award.
Giving his reaction after Connacht's historic 16-14 win away to Toulouse, head coach Pat Lam said: "The belief's been there, we knew that this performance was not far away. To come here in a massive game with the side they put out is an unbelievable effort (from us) and I'm so proud of the guys."
Fergus McFadden, who helped to launch the Ulster Bank League awards in Dublin, spoke afterwards about his recovery from a fractured hand, previewed Leinster's back-to-back games against Northampton Saints and reflected on his involvement in the GUINNESS Series with Ireland.
Out-half Craig Ronaldson, who has made a successful transition from Ulster Bank League rugby with Lansdowne to a professional contract with Connacht, talks about the step up to this level of rugby, the importance of the league in providing game-time and a shop window for players and he also previews the province's back-to-back clashes with Toulouse.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam was proud of the performance his players produced in their 23-17 Heineken Cup defeat to Saracens, but he was left frustrated by some of referee Pascal Gauzere's decisions in a tight second half.
The Irish launch of the 2013/14 Heineken Cup took place in Dublin last week and Irish Rugby TV caught up with Sky Sports commentator Stuart Barnes to chat about his favourite Heineken Cup memories and get his thoughts on this season's tournament.