The European Cup, known widely as the Heineken Cup and in France as the H Cup, is the premier club competition in Europe. The competition is governed European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC), but was launched in 1995 following an initiative from the Five Nations committee to increase the top-level competition at club-level.
Qualifying teams are drawn from the English Premiership, Celtic League, French Top 14 and Italian Super 10, although each league has a different qualifying system.
The 24 qualifying teams are placed into six Pools of four, before the six Pool winners and two best-placed runners up contest the quarter finals. Tournament rounds occur throughout the domestic season between October and May.
The final of the tournament is held in a different participating country each year, with Cardiff having hosted the most finals with five. Toulouse are the most successful side in the tournament, with three wins.
Heineken Cup finals
|2011-12||Leinster 42-14 Ulster||Twickenham, London|
|2010-11||Leinster 33-22 Northampton Saints||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|2009-10||Toulouse 21-19 Biarritz||Stade de France, Paris|
|2008-09||Leinster 19 - 16 Leicester||Murrayfield, Edinburgh|
|2007-08||Munster 16 - 13 Toulouse||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|2006-07||London Wasps 25 - 9 Leicester Tigers||Twickenham, London|
|2005-06||Munster 23 - 19 Biarritz||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|2004-05||Toulouse 18 - 12 Stade Français||Murrayfield, Edinburgh|
|2003-04||London Wasps 27 - 20 Toulouse||Twickenham, London|
|2002-03||Toulouse 22 - 17 Perpignan||Lansdowne Road, Dublin|
|2001-02||Leicester Tigers 15 - 9 Munster||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|2000-01||Leicester Tigers 34 - 30 Stade Français||Parc des Princes, Paris|
|1999-00||Northampton Saints 9 - 8 Munster||Twickenham, London|
|1998-99||Ulster 21 - 6 Colomiers||Lansdowne Road, Dublin|
|1997-98||Bath 19 - 18 Brive||Stade Lescure, Bordeaux|
|1996-97||Brive 28 - 9 Leicester Tigers||Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff|
|1995-96||Toulouse 21 - 18 a.e.t. Cardiff||Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff|