For the purpose of the draw, the 24 teams are ranked based on their new ERC European Rankings and are divided into four tiers of six. 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 France which will be drawn into a Pool with another French team.
• The winner of the previous season’s Heineken Cup (Munster) will be seeded Number 1 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 (Heineken Cup champions Munster) 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.
• Allocation of Tier 2, 3 and 4 – For each tier allocation, the teams will be drawn starting with the teams from the country with the highest number of teams participating in the tournament.
Therefore the order of allocation in each tier will be teams from France, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy until all teams in that tier have been drawn. The draw will then move onto the teams in the next tier.
• In Tier 4, the seventh French team (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.
The Teams and Tiers
TIER 1 – Munster, Toulouse, Biarritz Olympique, Leicester Tigers, Stade Français Paris, London Wasps
TIER 2 – Leinster, Bath Rugby, Gloucester Rugby, Perpignan, Sale Sharks, Llanelli Scarlets
TIER 3 – Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ulster Rugby, Castres Olympique
TIER 4* – Glasgow Warriors, Benetton Treviso, Edinburgh, Rugby Calvisano, Harlequins, Montauban/Montpelier.
*The last French Tier 4 team will be confirmed this weekend and will be either Montauban or Montpellier.