European Rugby
Leinster top seeds for Heineken Cup
ESPN Staff
May 31, 2013
Leinster's Jonathan Sexton and Isa Nacewa show off the Amlin Challenge Cup, Leinster v Stade Francais, Amlin Challenge Cup Final, RDS, Dublin, Ireland, May 17, 2013
Leinster boosted their ERC ranking with victory over Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup finale earlier this month © Getty Images
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Leinster have been named as top seeds for the 2013-14 Heineken Cup ahead of the pool draw for next season's competition.

The Amlin Challenge Cup champions will be joined in Tier 1 by this season's Heineken Cup winners Toulon, Toulouse, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster and Munster with all six sides set to be allocated different pools during the draw on June 5.

Premiership champions Leicester are in Tier 2 alongside fellow English qualifiers Northampton Saints, Harlequins and Saracens with Cardiff Blues and Perpignan completing the group. The two remaining Premiership sides - Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs - will be drawn from Tier 4.

No club from the same tier will be drawn in the same pool and no pool will have more than one club from the same country with the exception of France, as there are seven French clubs in next season's competition. Racing Metro 92, as the lowest-ranked of the seven French clubs, will be drawn last into a pool with another French club.

Meanwhile, former tournament winners Biarritz Olympique, Bath, London Wasps and Sale Sharks are among the line-up of 20 Amlin Challenge Cup clubs from six countries who will be keenly awaiting the outcome of the pool draw for that tournament which will take place the same day. Also included are the 2013 defeated finalists, Stade Francais Paris, as well as London Irish and Worcester Warriors who have also been losing finalists.

The Amlin Challenge Cup clubs will be drawn into five pools and each pool will contain four clubs. Each pool will include one club from each of the four tiers and no two clubs from the same country will be drawn in the same pool with the exceptions of France as there are seven French clubs, and England, as there are six English clubs in next season's tournament.

The tiers are based on the ERC European rankings system over the past four seasons in the Heineken Cup, the knockout stage of the Amlin Challenge Cup, and also on participation in the pool stage of the Amlin Challenge Cup over the same four-season period.

2013-14 Heineken Cup clubs and tiers:

Tier 1 - Leinster Rugby, Toulon, Toulouse, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Munster Rugby

Tier 2 - Northampton Saints, Harlequins, Cardiff Blues, Saracens, Leicester Tigers, Perpignan

Tier 3 - Edinburgh Rugby, Ospreys, Scarlets, Glasgow Warriors, Montpellier, Connacht Rugby

Tier 4 - Gloucester Rugby, Castres Olympique, Racing Metro 92, Exeter Chiefs, Benetton Treviso, Zebre

2013-14 Amlin Challenge Cup clubs and tiers:

Tier 1 - Biarritz Olympique PB, Stade Francais Paris, London Wasps, Bath Rugby, Brive

Tier 2 - London Irish, Sale Sharks, Newport Gwent Dragons, Newcastle Falcons, Rugby Viadana

Tier 3 - Bayonne, I Cavalieri Prato, Worcester Warriors, Bordeaux-B├Ęgles, Cammi Rugby Calvisano

Tier 4 - Grenoble, Mogliano Rugby, Oyonnax, Bucharest Wolves, Spanish representative

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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