Stade de France to host 2010 Heineken final
The Stade de France will host the 2010 Heineken Cup final
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- The Heineken Cup final will be heading to Paris next season, with the 80,000 capacity Stade de France announced at the host ground for the 2010 edition of Europe's premier club final.
The 2010 final, to be staged on May 22, will be the third held in France, but the first since the 2001 final between Leicester and Stade Francais at the Parc des Princes. The Stade de France was the scene of a dramatic game during this season's tournament however, with Harlequins defeating Stade Francais in a carnival atmosphere.
"We are delighted that the Paris 2010 Heineken Cup final will be played at the magnificent Stade de France, the venue of the 2007 Rugby World Cup final," said ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux. "The 80,000 all-seater stadium close to the heart of Paris will provide the perfect arena for the highlight of the European club season and we look forward to working closely with the Fédération Française de Rugby, Stade de France and the LNR over the next 12 months to build another fantastic European rugby weekend."
- Percy Montgomery, the most capped Springbok in history with 102, has announced that his playing days are over. Montgomery retired from international rugby last year after kicking the Boks to World Cup glory in 2007 and played a small role for the Stormers during this season's Super 14 before announcing his new role as Springboks kicking coach.
"After my retirement from international rugby, I made myself available for the Stormers this season in the knowledge that I would play a back-up role," he said. "I am now looking forward to working as kicking consultant to the Boks, but this is the end for me as a player."
- Bulls lock Bakkies Botha has been cleared to play in this weekend's Super 14 semi-final after his citing was dismissed by a SANZAR judicial committee. Botha had been cited following an altercation with Sharks No.8 Ryan Kankowski during the Bulls' 27-26 win on Saturday.
- Bath have confirmed that they have launched an investigation after allegations surfaced of their players being involved in an alcohol-fuelled incident at a London nightclub. The players in question were out in the capital after their season was ended by Leicester in the Guinness Premiership semi-final at the Walkers Stadium on May 10.
With the spectre of prop Matt Stevens' two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine still hanging over the club, reports suggested that there would be drug tests carried out on players in the aftermath of the incident, a fact denied by Bath chief executive Bob Calleja.
"We are investigating an incident in a London club where it is claimed that some players had too much to drink," Calleja told The Guardian. "I know nothing about any alleged drug-taking or tests being requested. There was a dispute involving some of our players and those from another side, but it is wrong to say anything else until our inquiry has been completed.
"There has been speculation about what happened, but we are interested only in facts and they will be revealed by our investigation. I will not be making any further comment until our investigation is over."
- Waratahs coach Chris Hickey has spoken out over the upcoming announcement of a 15th Super Rugby side, maintaining that the franchise should not be introduced in Australia to the detriment of the existing four teams. Hickey, whose Waratahs missed out on a Super 14 playoff place at the weekend to leave the country without a semi-final representative, believes that any new side should have an "Australasian" flavour.
Melbourne and Gold Coast are currently leading the charge to be named as the new franchise following a decision on the tournament's future by the SANZAR council last week.
"I think a fifth team will really stretch us to the absolute limit, particularly if you are going to increase the competition to 22 rounds," Hickey told the Sydney Morning Herald. "If they [the Australian Rugby Union] wish to introduce a fifth team, it may need to be more of an Australasian team than an Australian team. That would enable us to put together a fifth team that would be competitive without damaging the four current sides. There is no point having a fifth team if you diminish the strength of the other four teams."
- Newly-promoted Leeds have signed Bristol back-row Alfie To'oala on a two-year deal.
- The American Rugby Super League has reached the semi-final stage, with Life University set to take on Belmont Shore and Denver Barbarians, who knocked out reigning champions New York Atletic Club, facing San Francisco Golden Gate.