The Board of ERC has ruled that the 24th Heineken Cup place for the 2008 / 2009 tournament will be filled by the highest non-qualifying team from the Magners League.
The 24th position was, as per the last three seasons, due to be decided by a play-off between the highest non-qualifying Magners League team and the third placed Italian Super 10 club on the weekend of Saturday, 31 May, 2008.
The FIR (Federazione Italiana Rugby) have confirmed to ERC that they will not be in a position to nominate a team for the play-off, as the second-leg of the Italian championship semi-finals will be played on Saturday, 31 May - the weekend designated for the 24th place play-off match.
Having received confirmation from the Celtic Unions that their teams would be available to play, and having noted that the weekend for the play-off match had been scheduled in advance of the start of the season, the Board of ERC resolved that the place will be awarded to the qualifying team from the Magners League.
The final place will go to either Newport Gwent Dragons, who still have to play the Ospreys tonight (Tuesday, 6 May) and Leinster on Friday, both at Rodney Parade, or Connacht Rugby, who play the Ospreys in Galway on Friday.
Magners League Table
The Dragons are currently on 25 match points and Connacht Rugby on 20 match points. Under Magners League regulations - if the teams finish level on match points then number of matches won (currently Dragons five and Connacht four); points difference (currently Dragons -125 and Connacht -186) and then tries (currently Dragons 24 and Connacht 13) are the determining criteria.