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Connacht Join The Heineken Cup Ranks

Connacht Join The Heineken Cup Ranks

Leinster’s memorable final win over Northampton Saints last Saturday means that Connacht will taste Heineken Cup action for the first time next season.

The extra two ERC European ranking points that Leinster earned took them to first place ahead of Munster and Toulouse for the 17th season of the Heineken Cup tournament.

The province’s triumph also earned Ireland an additional place with Connacht the beneficiaries and joining the elite after playing in a record 98 Challenge Cup matches in all 15 seasons of the competition.

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It means Ireland will have four teams in the tournament for the first time, while England will have seven following Harlequins’ Amlin Challenge Cup success over Stade Francais a day earlier, which earned them automatic qualification.

Connacht are not the only Heineken Cup debutants – Montpellier have qualified for European club rugby’s premier tournament for the first time after finishing fifth in the Top 14 Championship.

The draw for the Heineken Cup pool stages will take place on Tuesday, June 7 at Twickenham, the venue for the final next May.

Meanwhile, Connacht have launched their season tickets for the 2011/12 campaign.

The superb value ticket will guarantee entry to all of Connacht’s 11 home Magners League games (including the interprovincial clashes with Munster, Ulster and Leinster), 3 home Heineken Cup pool games and all of Connacht’s home pre-season friendlies (matches to be confirmed). Click here for further details.


(All qualifiers in alphabetical order)

ENGLAND (7) – Bath, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, Northampton Saints and Saracens
FRANCE (6) – Biarritz Olympique, Castres Olympique, Clermont Auvergne, Montpellier, Racing Metro 92 and Toulouse
IRELAND (4) – Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster
ITALY (2) – Aironi Rugby and Benetton Treviso
SCOTLAND (2) – Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors
WALES (3) – Cardiff Blues, the Ospreys and the Scarlets