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)
The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) and Leinster Rugby have announced the launch of an international architectural design competition, the first step in the redevelopment of the RDS Arena, home to both Leinster Rugby and the Dublin Horse Show.
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."