LEINSTER have earned Tier One status in the ERC ranking, joining Munster as one of the six teams heading the pools for the 2009/10 tournament.
Their one-point quarter-final win against Harlequins at The Stoop on Sunday earned them two ranking points and sent them into the top six for the first time.
Former double winners London Wasps (19 points) are forced out of the top flight by Leinster and the 2004 and 2007 European champions will drop down to Tier Two alongside current semi-finalists Cardiff Blues (16 points to date).
The top six (with their current number of ranking points) are: 33 — Munster; 24 — Leicester Tigers; 21 — Toulouse; 20 — Biarritz Olympique; 20 — Leinster; 20 — Bath Rugby.
England will have seven clubs in the 2009/10 tournament courtesy of Leicester qualifying for the semi-finals later this month.
France supplied seven clubs this season as a result of Toulouse contesting the 2008 final but the defeat of the triple champions by Cardiff Blues last Saturday left France without representation in the last four and Leicester’s success against Bath Rugby secured the additional place for England.
The guaranteed allocation of teams for the Heineken Cup draw each summer for the composition of the six Pools is:
England and France — Six (6) teams each; Ireland and Wales — Three (3) teams each; Scotland and Italy — Two (2) teams each.
The winners of both the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup automatically qualify for the following season’s Heineken Cup tournament and come out of their nation’s allocation of teams.
The 24th Heineken Cup place is due to be decided by a play-off between the highest non-qualifying Magners League team and the third placed Italian Super 10 club.
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