Connacht Rugby and London Wasps will have particular interest in the results of this weekend’s Clermont Auvergne -v- Leinster and Ulster -v- Edinburgh Heineken Cup semi-final fixtures.
If Ulster and Leinster both win their semi-finals this weekend, Connacht will be guaranteed a place in next season’s Heineken Cup.
However, if Edinburgh and Clermont Auvergne win their semi-final matches, then the final place in the 2012-’13 Heineken Cup will go to London Wasps, provided they retain their Aviva Premiership status for next season.
The latter part of the bargain is by no means certain however as the Londoners currently lie second bottom with four points to spare over bottom placed Newcastle going into the final series of games.
If Ulster or Leinster win the Heineken Cup on 19th May, then Ireland will have four representatives in next season’s Heineken Cup.
If Edinburgh or Clermont Auvergne win the Heineken Cup then the final Heineken Cup spot for next season will go to the highest placed non-French club ERC European Rankings which has not qualified through its own domestic league.
France already have seven clubs qualified for next season’s tournament which is the maximum permissible by ERC rules. Italy and Scotland cannot exceed two places, based on their performances in the Rabo Direct Pro 12. Ireland and Wales are given three places based on Rabo Direct performances with a further possible slot based on the winner’s of the previous years Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups.