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.
Toulouse, the 1996 Heineken Cup winners, have opted not to play the tie at their Stade Ernest Wallon ground (capacity 18,000) and instead take on the 2000 European champions at the stadium that hosted 1998 soccer World Cup matches.
"This is the No 1 tournament in Europe and the quarter-final against Northampton is an enormous game," said Guy Noves, the Toulouse head coach. "Northampton are currently one of the best teams in Europe with some great players and it is logical to play this game in a stadium that not only has a bigger capacity but is also available. I think it will be full." "We want to share the event with as many people as possible and we can double the crowd we would have had at Stade Ernest Wallon."
Toulouse have already benefited from switching big matches to Le Stadium - they attracted a Pool stage record crowd of 20,000 for their 1999/2000 quarter-final against Montferrand and, despite the stadium then being revamped for the World Cup, a full house of 26,000 watched them clash with Brive in the 1997/98 semi-finals.
Leinster Lions have already announced they will play Biarritz Olympique at the 49,000-capacity Lansdowne Road, again like Toulouse, Leinster agreeing that their preferred choice - Donnybrook - just would not cater for the amount of people who would want to attend.
However, the game that could arguably have attracted the biggest crowd of the quarter final week-end, is the one between Leicester Tigers and Munster. That game is scheduled to take place at the 16,800 capacity Welford Road. When the two sides met in ther final last year, 74,000 turned up.