Leinster have earned Tier 1 status in the ERC European Rankings and will be one of the teams heading the six pools in the draw for the composition of the pools for the 2009/10 Heineken Cup.
Leinster’s one-point quarter-final win over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday earned them double that number of ranking points off the pitch and sent them soaring into the top six for the first time.
Former cup winners London Wasps (19 points) have been forced out of the top flight by Leinster and the 2004 and 2007 European champions will drop down to Tier 2 alongside current semi-finalists Cardiff Blues (16 points to date).
The top six (with their current number of ranking points) are:
33 – Munster
24 – Leicester Tigers
21 – Toulouse
20 – Biarritz Olympique
20 – Leinster
20 – Bath Rugby
Meanwhile, the all-Irish Heineken Cup semi-final between Munster and Leinster at Croke Park on Saturday, May 2 should see the 14th Heineken Cup tournament become the first to attract 1,000,000 fans through the turnstiles.
The 101,466 who were at last weekend’s thrilling quarter-finals – including a Welsh home record gate of the 36,728 who saw Cardiff Blues beat triple champions Toulouse – pushed the season’s total to 981,946.
The Croke Park semi-final, followed by the Anglo-Welsh Millennium Stadium showdown between the Blues and Leicester Tigers, is set to smash the seven-figure barrier way ahead of the Edinburgh 2009 final on May 23.
Already more fans have flocked to the 76 matches so far played in this tournament than the old mark for a season, the 964,853 who attended the 79 matches during the 2005/06 campaign.