19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
In today's draw made at Stade de France - the venue for the 2010 final - the cup holders were drawn in Pool 6 while Perpignan, the newly-crowned French champions and Tier 2 team, will be up against Munster, Northampton Saints and Benetton Treviso in Pool 1.
Ulster will have a tough task emerging from Pool 4, with Bath, Stade Francais and Edinburgh standing in their way.
Reacting to the draw, Ulster Rugby CEO Michael Reid said: "Every group in this top international competition is of the highest standard.
"In Bath, Stade Francais and Edinburgh we have three teams who play attractive rugby and are successful in their own leagues, but it is also a group in which we believe if we play to our optimum level, we can compete against all of them."
The draw for the six pools of four teams each, made by ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux and Chief Executive Derek McGrath, also saw 2009 Heineken Cup finalists Leicester Tigers drawn to face the Ospreys, Clermont Auvergne and Viadana in Pool 3.
The draw was conducted using the merit-based ERC European Ranking system based on the qualified teams' performances over the past four seasons in the Heineken Cup and knock-out stages of the European Challenge Cup.
The 24 teams who have qualified for the 2009/10 competition were graded into four tiers of six teams each.
Each of the six pools have one team from each of the four tier levels.
English clubs Sale Sharks and Harlequins were drawn together in Pool 5 as England have seven teams in next season's competition.
2009/10 HEINEKEN CUP POOLS:
POOL 1 - MUNSTER, Perpignan, Northampton Saints, Benetton Treviso
POOL 2 - Biarritz Olympique, Gloucester, Newport Gwent Dragons, Glasgow Warriors
POOL 3 - Leicester Tigers, Ospreys, Clermont Auvergne, Viadana
POOL 4 - Bath, Stade Francais, ULSTER, Edinburgh
POOL 5 - Toulouse, Cardiff Blues, Sale Sharks, Harlequins
POOL 6 - LEINSTER, London Irish, Scarlets, Brive
THE TIERS (with ranking points):
TIER 1: 33 - Munster, 26 - Leicester Tigers, 24 - Leinster, 21 - Toulouse, 20 - Bath, 20 - Biarritz Olympique
TIER 2: 16 - Cardiff Blues, 14 - Stade Francais, 14 - Gloucester, 14 - Perpignan, 13 - Ospreys, 12 - London Irish
TIER 3: 12 - Northampton Saints, 11 - Sale Sharks, 11 - Clermont Auvergne, 11 - Scarlets, 7 - Ulster, 7 - Newport Gwent Dragons
TIER 4: 6 - Harlequins, 6 - Glasgow Warriors, 5 - Edinburgh, 4 - Benetton Treviso, 4 - Brive, 1 - Viadana
HEINEKEN CUP 2009/10 FIXTURE DATES:
ROUND 1 - October 9/10/11, 2009
ROUND 2 - October 16/17/18, 2009
ROUND 3 - December 11/12/13, 2009
ROUND 4 - December 18/19/20, 2009
ROUND 5 - January 15/16/17, 2010
ROUND 6 - January 22/23/24, 2010
QUARTER-FINALS - April 9/10/11, 2010
SEMI-FINALS - May 1/2, 2010
FINAL - Stade de France - Saturday, May 22