Clermont Auvergne training at Twickenham ahead of their European Champions Cup final against Toulon. They are hoping for their first European Cup victory. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Ultimately, the rugby won out, or at any rate the occasions did. The semi-finals may have been taut arm wrestles, but the sight of the Clermont player(...)

Mike Ford:  Circuitous Rugby League career took him, by chance, to Ireland in January 2002. Photograph: Getty Images

Russell Crowe wasn’t momentarily speechless collecting an Oscar for Gladiator. Nor did the cinematic hard man well up after the South Sydney Rabbitohs(...)

Bath coach Mike Ford encourages his side to have a go from anywhere on the field, an approach that brought them a bonus-point victory in Toulouse in the pool stage. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The last time Bath came to the Aviva Stadium they were beaten 52-27 by a Leinster side which would go on to retain the Heineken Cup three seasons ago.(...)

 Jamie Heaslip leads his Leinster team onto the field before their Champions Cup match against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The redrawn European club map in the shape of the European Champions Cup was driven by the Anglo-French club axis to ensure that the bigger economies (...)

JJ Hanrahan will play his rugby next season with English Premiership champions Northampton. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

There’s something that sticks in the craw about JJ Hanrahan leaving Munster for Northampton and the English Premiership. It’s not just that he’s a tru(...)

 Steffon Armitage could be set for a return to England to try and revive his international career. Photograph:  Nick Laham/Getty Images

Steffon Armitage is on the verge of an unforeseen return home to the English Premiership from Toulon. The flanker is rapidly running out of time if he(...)

 Bruce Craig, EPCR board member and member of the executive committee. Photograph: Billy Stickland / Inpho

At last, the darned rugby. After the protracted off-field rifts, both local and European, threats and more threats, the belated heads of agreement on (...)

Brian O’Driscoll: former Ireland captain   would be a compromise candidate to fill new position of president in the newly-formed EPCR (European Professional Club rugby). Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Such are the heightened tensions between the warring factions in European club rugby including now, it seems, the one-time Anglo-French axis, that lea(...)

Premier Rugby chairman Quentin Smith with  Gloucester captain Jacob Rowan. Smith declared “there will no longer be a need for it” in reference to ERC, in branding the Dublin-based organisers of the Heineken Cup as “no longer fit for purpose”. Now EPCR have been obliged to subcontract the running of the inaugural tournament to around 16 or 17 staff from the ERC. Photo: David Rogers/Getty

Some three weeks or so later than was normally the case with the Heineken Cup, the allotment of pool weekends along with the dates, kick-off times and(...)

Twickeham last held the European decider when Brian O’Driscoll helped Leinster beat Ulster to win the Heneken Cup in 2012. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Twickenham will host the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup final on Saturday May 2nd next year, with The Stoop named as the venue for the Challe(...)