LEINSTER will be the top-ranked team in next season's Heineken Cup and Munster will also be among the top seeds when the draw is made next Tuesday.
Neither side can meet Toulouse, Cardiff Blues, Leicester Tigers or Biarritz in the pool stages, but finalists Northampton could get another shot at Leinster from Tier 2.
Ulster will be in the Tier 3 pot and Connacht will have it all to do in their maiden season as they will start from the bottom Tier 4.
Meanwhile, Mils Muliaina is the latest All Black to confirm his post-World Cup departure by announcing that he will play in Japan next season. The 94-times capped full-back will join the likes of Rodney So'oialo and George Smith in Japan.
TIER 1 -- Leinster, Toulouse, Munster, Cardiff Blues, Biarritz, Leicester Tigers.
TIER 2 -- Northampton Saints, Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys, Bath, Harlequins, London Irish.
TIER 3 -- Ulster Rugby, Saracens, Gloucester Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets, Edinburgh.
TIER 4 -- Connacht, Benetton Treviso, Castres, Montpellier, Racing Metro, Aironi.
CONOR NILAND yesterday produced one of the best performances of his career, pulling off a shock win over former U-18 world No 1 Donald Young -- who beat world No 4 Andy Murray earlier this year.
World No 187 Niland thrashed the 96-ranked American 6-3 6-1 in the first round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Nottingham.
The Irish No 1 made a terrible start, double-faulting on a foot fault in the first point, and losing his serve. But Niland quickly regrouped and romped to victory.
Young stunned Murray 7-6 6-3 in the second round of the ATP World Tour Masters event in Indian Wells in March.
England are likely to select the tallest pace attack in Test history against Sri Lanka at Lord's this morning.
Despite Jade Dernbach's call-up to replace James Anderson, a Test recall for Steven Finn seems likely as Sri Lanka's diminutive batsmen may be uncomfortable against the bounce generated by him and his fellow 6ft 6in-plus seamers Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett.
THERE was treble disappointment for Ireland at yesterday's European Union Championships as Lynne McEnery, Dervla Duffy and Kelly Harrington bowed out at the last-eight stage in Katowice, Poland.
McEnery lost 17-11 toFrench light-fly Lidia Boussaida and Duffy was stopped in round four by Poland's 2010 European silver medalist Sandra Kruk.
Harrington dropped a 19-12 verdict to Poland's Oliwia Luczak, a decision which IABA director of boxing Dominic O'Rourke described as "very harsh".
Katie Taylor, Laoise Traynor and Lauragh O'Neill are involved in semi-final bouts this morning. All three are guaranteed at least bronze.