If you are missing all the excitement of the Heineken Cup, fear not! The countdown starts tomorrow, when the draw to decide the Pools for next season's tournament will take place in Stade de France, Paris.
The draw will be conducted by ERC Chairman, Jean-Pierre Lux at 11am (UK and Ireland time) and will be streamed live on ercrugby.com.
Heineken Cup 2009/10 Teams and Tiers
Munster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster, Toulouse, Bath Rugby, Biarritz Olympique Pays
Cardiff Blues, Stade Français Paris, Gloucester Rugby, Perpignan, Ospreys, London Irish
Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets, Ulster Rugby,
Newport Gwent Dragons
TIER 4 Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh, Benetton Treviso, Brive, Viadana
Heineken Cup Pool Draw Format Key Principles
• For the purpose of the draw the 24 qualified teams are ranked based on their ERC European rankings and are divided into four Tiers. Rankings are based on European performance over the past four seasons in the Heineken Cup and knock-out stages of the European Challenge Cup.
• Each Pool will have one team from each of the four Tier levels.
• No two teams from the same country will be drawn in the same Pool except for the seventh club from England (Harlequins based on European Ranking) which will be drawn into a Pool with another English team.
• The winner of the Heineken Cup 2008/09 will be seeded in the first Tier and will be drawn into a Pool first.
• The draw will have four stages starting with the allocation of six teams from Tier 1 and then moving to the next Tier.
• Allocation of Tier 1 - The Number 1 ranked team (Leinster, Heineken Cup champions 2008/09) will be drawn into one of the six Pools. The remaining five top Tier teams will then be drawn into the five Pool spots left available.
• For the Allocation of Tier 2, 3 and 4, the teams will be drawn starting with the teams from the country with the highest number of teams participating in the tournament (England). Therefore the order of allocation in each Tier will be teams from England, France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy until all teams in the Tier have been drawn. Note as Scotland and Italy both have two teams competing, the Scottish teams will be drawn first as they are ranked higher than either Italian side.
• During each Tier allocation a team will be drawn and then a Pool number for that team from the available Pool options.
• In Tier 4 the seventh English team (Harlequins based on ranking) will be drawn into the Pools last.
• To avoid having two teams from the same country in the same Pool, some teams may be allocated to available Pool spots automatically during the course of the Draw. Overall European Rankings are available on www.ercrugby.com/europeanrankings
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.