The winners of the Heineken Cup semi-final at Estadio Anoeta will earn an extra Heineken Cup place for their home country by reaching the final in Cardiff.

Tournament rules state that the 23rd Heineken Cup team comes from England, France or Italy and is decided by which of these three countries progresses furthest in the previous season’s Heineken Cup.

There were seven English teams in the tournament in 2004 / 2005 thanks to London Wasps’ triumph over Toulouse in the 2004 final at Twickenham, while this season there were seven French clubs following the all French final at Murrayfield in 2005.


If Bath maintain their 100 per cent away victory in this season’s competition then seven of the 12 Guinness Premiership clubs will play in the Heineken Cup in 2006 / 2007. If Biarritz Olympique reach their first final, then it will be half of the French Top 14.