10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
But nothing is ever that simple and if media reports are to be believed, there will be nothing simple either for Munster supporters hoping to travel to support their side.
It seems Castres want to play the game in Stade de la Mediterranee in Beziers which is about one and a half hours road journey from Castres while other venues considered are Lyon and Paris.
Not indeed that you can blame Castres for looking for Beziers. After all they were favoured with 'home' advantage and are entitled to make the very most of it. But on top of that Castres have another problem and in fairness, it's one that Munster supporters will find very difficult to comprehend. It would appear that Castres supporters don't like going to a lot of trouble to support their team according to a radio interview conducted by RTE's Michael Corcoran with Castres resident Scot, Gregor Townsend. And that's a fact borne out by anybody who was in a less than full Stade Pierre-Antoine for the final Pool game. So getting the Castres faithful to somewhere like Lyon would prove un peu difficile. Paris? Not a chance.
However there are other factors that make the Stade de la Medieterranee an unsuitable venue for this match.
Ground capacity is approximately 3000 short of the minimum requirement (20,000) set down by ERC for a semi final and accessibility for travelling fans is difficult to say the least. There are no direct flights to Beziers. Munster supporters have the option of flying to Paris and taking a connection to Montpelier which is about 60 kilometres north of Beziers. Alternatively they could take the TGV from Paris to Montpelier, then local train to Beziers - it's takes over five hours, mind you through some spectacular countryside, but plan to overnight in Montpelier because most places will be closed in Beziers.
So basically, the infrastructure isn't there to cater for this game. Besides that, surely a game of this profile deserves better.
Last year the semi-final was played in the wilderness of Lille, a soccer town, on a cabbage patch pitch. As the flagship of northern hemisphere club rugby, the Heineken Cup semi-final deserves to be played in a rugby stadium capable of holding at least 25,000, in a city that has easy accessibility for the people who count most - those who support the game. Parc des Princes or Stade de France is where this particular game should be played.