There was good news for the Irish provinces today as it was confirmed that both Leinster and Munster will be top seeds in the 2012 Heineken Cup.
Ulster meanwhile will remain in the third tier of the competition and Connacht remains in the hunt for a spot in European rugby’s most prestigious competition.
The top seeds for next year’s competition will be Toulouse, Leinster, Munster, Cardiff, Biarritz and Northampton. The latter team will take the place of Leicester who will drop down to the second tier.
There are now only two places left up for grabs in next season competition. Along with the three Irish provinces will be Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues , the Italian pair of Treviso and Aironi and Scottish teams Edinburgh and Glasgow.
From France there will be Biarritz and Montpellier , who qualified for the first time, along with the heavy hitters that are Toulouse, Racing Metro, Castres and Clermont. The English will be represented by Leicester, Saracens, Gloucester, Northampton and Bath and by London Irish.
A number of teams will still have a chance to qualify over the course of the next week. If Harlequins win the Amlin Challenge Trophy next weekend they will qualify. However they will also qualify if Northampton manages to beat Leinster next weekend.
Connacht could play in the Heineken Cup for the first time ever if Leinster can do their part and secure their second Heineken Cup victory next weekend.