Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Cardiff to host Heineken Cup final

The Millennium Stadium will host the Heineken Cup final in 2014

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium will host the 2014 Heineken Cup final, tournament organiser European Rugby Cup has announced.

The Welsh Rugby Union launched a bid to stage the showpiece event after the French Rugby Federation (FFR) withdrew Paris as the host city due to uncertainty over the availability of the Stade de France.

It means Cardiff will stage the fixture for the seventh time since the tournament's inception in 1996.

ERC also confirmed the final of the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup will be played at the Arms Park home of Cardiff Blues.

The Blues moved back to the Arms Park from Cardiff City Stadium last season, and are currently installing an artificial pitch at the ground after struggling with a boggy playing surface.

Cardiff last held the Heineken Cup final in 2011 when Leinster produced a stunning second-half fightback to sink Northampton at the Millennium Stadium.

The Welsh bid beat off competition from the Rugby Football Union and Scottish Rugby Union.

And ERC chief executive Derek McGrath welcomed the return to the Welsh capital on the dates of Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24 of next year.

He said: "With fans from all corners of Europe set to travel to Wales next May, we see Cardiff as a hugely appealing setting for the finals weekend which has developed into one of the great events in Europe's sporting calendar.

"We will be working with the WRU, the Welsh Assembly Government, Visit Wales and Cardiff City Council to ensure that all supporters will enjoy a thoroughly positive experience.

"Cardiff has been the setting for some of the great finals in the past and in many ways, European club rugby is returning home.

"I have no doubt that the 2014 weekend at the Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium will be yet another celebration of all that is good about European club rugby."

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