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Leinster seeded No 1 in Cup draw

LEINSTER lead the way as number one seeds for the 2013-2014 Heineken Cup pool draw which will take place next Wednesday.

They are way out in front with 35 accumulated points with Toulon and Toulouse second and third, both on 26 points, Clermont Auvergne fourth on 25 points, Munster fifth on 22. Ulster round out the half-dozen tier one tier, almost by default on 20 points as Biarritz could not qualify for next season's competition

This means the Top-6 is divided equally between Irish and French clubs.

Tier 1: LEINSTER, Toulon, Toulouse, ASM Clermont Auvergne, ULSTER, MUNSTER. Tier 2: Northampton Saints, Harlequins, Cardiff Blues, Saracens, Leicester, Perpignan Tier 3: Edinburgh, Ospreys, Scarlets, Glasgow Warriors, Montpellier, CONNACHT Tier 4: Gloucester, Castres Olympique, Racing Metro 92, Exeter Chiefs, Benetton Treviso, Zebre


Vern and 'Vergne clash

RUGBY: Incoming Scotland coach Vern Cotter has denied offering to resign his post at Clermont Auvergne and move to his new post 12 months ahead of schedule.

The New Zealander was confirmed as the replacement for Andy Robinson on Monday but the Scottish Rugby Union announced Cotter would not take up his new position until June next year when his contract at the Parc des Marcel Michelin expires.

However, after the coach gave an interview in France criticising members of his squad following their Heineken Cup final defeat to Toulon, Clermont president Rene Fontes released a statement suggesting Cotter, 51, had then tendered his resignation.

However, Cotter said: "No, I haven't resigned. This is unclear. I would like a little bit of clarity and I will be ringing my president to see what the situation is."


Noren eyes home title

GOLF: Alexander Noren is back in his native Stockholm this week for the Nordea Masters feeling good about his form as he prepares for another tilt at the title he won in 2011.

Noren goes into the tournament at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club having been greatly encouraged by his tee to green efforts in last week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where he finished tied for 32nd.

The 30-year-old, who has achieved three top-10 finishes this season, said: "I didn't take advantage of the birdie chances there and made too many two-putts but I feel good coming into this week."


Nike ends charity deal

CYCLING: Nike has ended its commercial partnership with the Livestrong Foundation set up by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The American sportswear firm, which produced Livestrong's merchandise, will cease to work with the cancer charity beyond its next collection of products.

SNOOKER: Reanne Evans is the first woman to qualify for the final stages of one of snooker's ranking tournaments as she set up a first-round clash with Neil Robertson at next month's Wuxi Classic.