Heineken Cup cast takes shape
May 19, 2011
The Heineken Cup silverware will be up for grabs at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium next weekend © Getty Images
The destinations of this season's Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup titles will also confirm the line-up for the next battle for European supremacy.
All but two of the 24 places in the 2011-12 Heineken Cup have been finalised following the conclusion of the regular season in the Aviva Premiership, Magners League and Top 14 Orange. The current qualifiers are as follows:
Aviva Premiership: Leicester, Saracens, Gloucester, Northampton, Bath, London Irish
Magners League: Munster, Leinster, Ulster, Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Edinburgh, Treviso, Glasgow, Aironi,
Top 14 Orange: Toulouse, Racing Metro, Castres, Clermont Auvergne, Biarritz, Montpellier
Premiership side Harlequins and French club Stade Francais meet in Friday's Challenge Cup Final and the winner of that game will become the 23rd side to qualify for next season's Heineken Cup.
If Quins lose, they could still qualify if Northampton beat Leinster in this season's Heineken Cup finale the following day. However, if Leinster were to be victorious then their Irish provincial rivals Connacht would benefit and automatically qualify for the first time.
If both Harlequins and Northampton were to taste euro success, then as England cannot have more than seven teams in the tournament, the 24th place would go to the highest-ranked ERC team outside of the Premiership, Stade Francais.
The six top seeds in the draw for next season's competition will be Toulouse, Leinster, Munster, Cardiff, Biarritz and Northampton, with the latter set to displace Leicester, who are destined to be drawn from the second tier.
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