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Heineken Cup Pool Draw Confimed

8th June 2010

Amlin Challenge Cup champions Cardiff Blues have been drawn in a difficult pool for next season's Heineken Cup which kicks-off on the weekend of 8/9/10 October, 2010

Amlin Challenge Cup champions Cardiff Blues have been drawn in a difficult pool for next season's Heineken Cup which kicks-off on the weekend of 8/9/10 October, 2010

In today’s draw made in Cardiff – host city for the 2011 final to be played at the Millennium Stadium on the weekend of 21/22 May – top tier seeds Cardiff Blues were drawn in Pool 1 alongside former winners Northampton Saints, Celtic cousins Edinburgh and French Top 14 outfit Castres Olympique.

Last season Northampton Saints pipped the Blues into the Quarter Finals of Europe's premier club rugby competition, before they lost to Munster away at Thomond Park. The Blues went onto become the first welsh regional team to claim a European title winning the Amlin Cup in Marseille against Toulon.

Last season Edinburgh bowed out at the Group stage of the Heineken Cup finsihing third in the pool behind Ulster and Stade Francais. Castres also finished third in their Amlin Challenge Cup pool, as Toulon progressed from their group to the final, however, the french side performed very well in their domestic competition finishing fifth just behind Toulouse and ahead of Racing Metro 92, Biarritz and Stade Francais Paris. 

Heineken Cup champions Toulouse will face London Wasps, Glasgow Warriors and Newport Gwent Dragons in the Pool stages of the 2010/11 Heineken Cup tournament when they defend their prestigious title in the 16th season of the competition. The draw for the six Pools of four teams each, made by ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux and Chief Executive Derek McGrath, also saw  2001 and 2002 Heineken Cup winners and reigning Guinness Premiership champions Leicester Tigers drawn to face the Scarlets, Perpignan and Benetton Treviso in Pool 5.

The Ospreys face a daunting task of overcoming the challenge of Munster, London Irish and RC Toulon. French Top 14 champions ASM Clermont Auvergne will face 2009 Heineken Cup winners Leinster, Guinness Premiership runners up Saracens and fellow French side Racing Metro 92.

The draw was again conducted using the merit-based ERC European Ranking system compiled on the qualified teams' performances over the past four seasons in the Heineken Cup and knock-out stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

The 24 teams who have qualified for the 2010/11 competition were graded into four tiers, with six teams in each tier. Each of the six pools for the group stage of the cup has one team drawn from each of the four tier levels avoiding clashes between teams from the same nation. The exception to this is french clubs ASM Clermont Auvergne and Racing-Metro 92 who were drawn together in Pool 2 this was unavoidable as France have seven teams in next season’s competition.

POOL 1: Cardiff Blues, Northampton Saints, Edinburgh, Castres Olympique
POOL 2: Leinster, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Saracens, Racing Metro 92
POOL 3: Munster, Ospreys, London Irish, RC Toulon
POOL 4: Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, Bath Rugby, Ulster, Aironi Rugby
POOL 5: Leicester Tigers, Scarlets, Perpignan, Benetton Treviso
POOL 6: Toulouse, London Wasps, Glasgow Warriors, Newport Gwent Dragons

THE TIERS (with ERC European Ranking points):
29 – Munster
27 – Toulouse
25 – Leinster
23 – Leicester Tigers
20 – Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque
20 – Cardiff Blues
19 – London Wasps
15 – ASM Clermont Auvergne
15 – Ospreys
15 – Northampton Saints
14 – Bath Rugby
12 – Scarlets
11 – Perpignan
11 – London Irish
11 – Saracens
8 – Ulster Rugby
7 – Glasgow Warriors
6 – Edinburgh
6 – Newport Gwent Dragons
4 – Benetton Treviso
4 – Castres Olympique
4 – RC Toulon
Aironi Rugby
Racing-Metro 92
ROUND 1 – 8/9/10 October, 2010
ROUND 2 – 15/16/17 October, 2010
ROUND 3 – 10/11/12 December, 2010
ROUND 4 – 17/18/19 December, 2010
ROUND 5 – 14/15/16 January, 2011
ROUND 6 – 21/22/23 January, 2011
QUARTER-FINALS – 8/9/10 April, 2011
SEMI-FINALS – 30 April/1 May, 2011
16th HEINEKEN CUP FINAL – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – 21/22 May, 2011
To secure your place at Cardiff City Stadium for season 2010/11 and to take advantage of the exclusive season ticket offer on Heineken Cup tickets call 0845 345 1400 for more information or buy your season ticket online at