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.
The semi-final draws to determine who the winners of each quarter-final will meet in the 2012/13 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals will be made at Welford Road on Sunday.
The draws will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, on Canal Groupe's infosport+ in France, and on ercrugby.com from approximately 5.05pm Irish time tomorrow.
Ieuan Evans, a Heineken Cup winner with Bath in 1998, and ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux will conduct the semi-final draws which will also decide which teams will have 'home country' advantage in the Heineken Cup semi-finals which are scheduled for the weekend of April 26/27/28 at venues designated by ERC.
Five of the Heineken Cup quarter-finalists have been confirmed as of Saturday night - they are Pool 3 winners Harlequins, Pool 5 winners Clermont Auvergne, Pool 6 winners Toulon, Pool 4 winners Ulster and Pool 6 runners-up Montpellier, who are guaranteed to go through as the seventh qualifiers.
The teams who are in bold below are in their final positions. The top four teams enjoy a home draw in the quarter-finals.
The draw will see 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5. We definitely know that Harlequins will meet either Leinster or Munster at home and that Clermont Auvergne will host Montpellier in an all-French affair.
HEINEKEN CUP QUARTER-FINAL QUALIFYING POSITIONS TO DATE:
1. Harlequins 29 points, 28 tries
2. Clermont Auvergne 28 points, 23 tries
3. Toulon 23 points, 23 tries
4. Ulster 23 points, 12 tries
5. To be confirmed (Pool 1 or 2 winners)
6. To be confirmed (Pool 1 or 2 winners)
7. Montpellier 22 points, 17 tries
8. Leinster 20 points, 12 tries or Munster (as Pool 1 runners-up with 20 points)
Pool 1 winners - either Saracens (18 points/10 tries) or Munster (15 points/9 tries)
Pool 2 winners - either Toulouse (18 points/14 tries) or Leicester Tigers (16 points/13 tries)
The Amlin Challenge Cup draw will confirm which quarter-final winners will earn the right to host their semi-finals at home venues on the same weekend in April.
With only a three-week window between the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, the early staging of the draw allows ERC to select possible semi-final venues in advance of the quarter-finals, and for the teams and ERC to begin planning in order to maximise the semi-final occasions.
HEINEKEN CUP AND AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP SEMI-FINALS DRAW FORMAT:
- Each of the four quarter-finals will be represented by a ball
- Quarter-final 1: Team 1 v Team 8; Quarter-final 2: Team 2 v Team 7; Quarter-final 3: Team 3 v Team 6; Quarter-final 4: Team 4 v Team 5
- The four balls corresponding to each quarter-final will then be drawn in turn
- The winners of the first quarter-final drawn will face the winners of the second quarter-final selected
- The winners of the third quarter-final selected will play the winners of the fourth quarter-final selected
- In the Heineken Cup draw, the winners of the first and third quarter-finals drawn will have home country advantage in the semi-finals, where relevant
- In the Amlin Challenge Cup draw, the winners of the first and third quarter-finals drawn will have home advantage in the semi-finals.
ROAD TO DUBLIN 2013 EUROPEAN CLUB RUGBY FINALS -
Quarter-finals: April 5/6/7
Semi-finals: April 26/27/28
Amlin Challenge Cup final - the RDS, Friday, May 17 (8pm)
Heineken Cup final - Aviva Stadium, Saturday, May 19 (5pm)