12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Defending champions Toulouse have led the way by ensuring there will be a capacity crowd of 36,500 packed inside Stadium de Toulouse for their clash with Edinburgh Rugby, a game that will be refereed by Irishman Alain Rolland.
And there won't be an inch to move inside Thomond Park (13,257) when Munster tackle French champions Stade Frangais Paris; Stradey Park (10,800) for their showdown with Biarritz Olympique and at the Causeway Stadium (10,000) when London Wasps go head-to-head with English rivals Gloucester - it all adding up to over 70,000 going through the turnstiles.
ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath said: We have the prospect of four outstanding matches and, while the quarter-finals are at a 100 per cent capacity, there would appear to be an appetite to fill the venues twice over. Therefore there is a very strong argument going forward that quarter-finals be played at bigger venues.
And, for the first time in the nine-year history of the tournament, we have five countries represented in the quarter-finals, underlining the enhanced competitive nature across the board of Europe club rugby.
I am not that surprised at having four sell-out quarter-finals because attendances in the Pool stages this season have been phenomenal.
The 72 Pool matches attracted 588,275 fans - a staggering increase of 20 per cent, which equates to just under 100,000 spectators, on the 2002/2003 season.
Heineken Cup Quarter-Finals (All kick-offs local time) Friday 9th APRIL. 19.45: Llanelli Scarlets v Biarritz Olympique, Chris White (E), Sky / Sport + Saturday 10th April. 16.00: Toulouse v Edinburgh Rugby, Alain Rolland (I), FR2 / Sky 17.00: Munster v Stade Frangais, Nigel Williams (W), RTE / Sky / Sport + Sunday 11th APRIL. 15.00: London Wasps v Gloucester, Joel Jutge (F) Sky / Sport +