18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Four former Heineken Cup champions - Munster, Leicester Tigers, Toulouse and Bath - along with Biarritz Olympique and 2009 finalists Leinster will take up the six Tier 1 places for the draw for the six pools of four teams each for the 15th season of the tournament.
2009/10 HEINEKEN CUP QUALIFIERS TO DATE:
ENGLAND (6 of 7): Leicester Tigers, Harlequins, London Irish, Bath, Sale Sharks, Gloucester
To qualify: One from London Wasps (Guinness Premiership 7th) or Northampton Saints (European Challenge Cup finalists)
FRANCE: (5 of 6): Biarritz Olympique, Perpignan, Toulouse, Stade Francais, Clermont Auvergne
To qualify: Brive or Bourgoin (European Challenge Cup finalists)
IRELAND: (3 of 3): Munster, Leinster, Ulster
ITALY (0 of 2): The Italian Championship finalists - and automatic Heineken Cup qualifiers - will be known on Saturday, May 23, after the second leg of their semi-finals.
To qualify: The two Championship finalists from Viadana, Benetton Treviso, Calvisano and Rovigo
SCOTLAND (2 of 2): Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors
WALES (3 of 3): Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Scarlets