June 1 2012
Reigning champions, Leinster Rugby, will be the first club allocated a pool for the 2012/13 Heineken Cup when the draw for the composition of the six pools for the 18th tournament takes place at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Tuesday, 12 June (11.00am).
The pool draw for the 24 qualified clubs, which will be streamed live on ercrugby.com, will launch the countdown to the Dublin 2013 Heineken Cup final at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 18 May.
Having won European club rugby’s premier competition three times in the past four years, Leinster also sit proudly at the top of the ERC European Rankings with 40 points, the highest total achieved by any club since the system was introduced in 2007.
To view the current ERC European Rankings, please follow this link
The rankings aim to reward and incentivise clubs which consistently perform at the highest level in European competition over four-seasons.
They are used for the purposes of the Heineken Cup pool draw to allocate the clubs that have qualified into four tiers of six clubs and to ensure the highest-ranked clubs are separated in the six pools.
Leinster are joined in Tier 1 by three Heineken Cup winners in Toulouse, Munster Rugby and Northampton Saints, while Biarritz Olympique and Cardiff Blues complete the top tier of six clubs.
Once the Tier 1 clubs have each been allocated a different pool, no club from the same tier will be drawn in the same pool, and no pool will have more than one club from the same country with the exception of France, as there are seven French clubs in next season’s competition.
Exeter Chiefs from England have qualified for the first time while a second Italian club will be nominated by the Italian Federation.
2012/13 Heineken Cup clubs and tiers
Tier 1 – Leinster Rugby, Toulouse, Biarritz Olympique, Munster Rugby, Cardiff Blues, Northampton Saints
Tier 2 – ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Leicester Tigers, Harlequins, Toulon, Edinburgh Rugby
Tier 3 – Ospreys, Scarlets, Glasgow Warriors, Saracens, Connacht Rugby, Sale Sharks
Tier 4 – Castres Olympique, Benetton Treviso, Racing Metro 92, Montpellier, Exeter Chiefs, Italian club (to be confirmed)