18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
But rather than being daunted by the scale of the task facing them in their first Heineken Cup adventure which kicks-off in October, head coach Rob Baxter insists the Chiefs and their Sandy Park faithful will relish locking horns with the continent's big boys.
"It's exactly what we wanted and kind of exactly what we anticipated," said Baxter, whose team will become the 61st side to play in the Heineken Cup and the 13th English club.
"As bottom seeds, you're going to get drawn into a tough group whatever happens. Could it come much tougher than that? Probably not.
"Clermont, Leinster and the Scarlets are three very established Heineken Cup sides but, at the same time, it is the way to do it. We worked extremely hard last season to qualify for the Heineken Cup. You don't work that hard to qualify and then hope it's a group you can meander your way through.
"When we're playing well, we're a good side and we've shown that in the Amlin Challenge Cup a few times. We don't fear going to France so that's a positive for us. Playing Leinster away will be a fantastic experience for us and something that the club's never done before.
"It's a fantastic challenge - it's fantastic for our supporters and for our team. Our supporters will be looking at those fixtures and rubbing their hands together - I don't think they could have asked for anything better."
Meanwhile, newly-crowned Aviva Premiership champions, Harlequins, are expecting a tough battle to turn their domestic dominance into European progression after they were paired with Amlin Challenge Cup winners Biarritz Olympique, Irish club Connacht and Italy's new franchise, Zebre.
Biarritz are used to winning at Quins' home ground of the Twickenham Stoop and secured their Heineken Cup qualification with victory over Toulon there last month, while Connacht ended Quins' Heineken Cup hopes last season when they triumphed 9-8 in Galway.
"We are delighted to have qualified for the Heineken Cup again and know how difficult it is to progress from the pool stage," said Harlequins Director of Rugby, Conor O'Shea.
"We will not be underestimating the challenge we face in Pool 3. Biarritz are the current Amlin Challenge Cup holders and have played in the Heineken Cup final before and, after our experience in Galway this season, nobody knows better than us what formidable opponents Connacht are when it comes to European competition.
As newcomers to Heineken Cup rugby, and in the best traditions of Italian rugby, Zebre will be competitive and determined to impress.
"We were disappointed to miss out narrowly on reaching the knockout stages last season and we want to make it out of our pool next time around."
Former Heineken Cup winners, Leicester Tigers, have been drawn against one of the four other clubs to have won Europe's greatest prize more than once, with 1996, 2003, 2005 and 2010 champions Toulouse awaiting the Tigers in Pool 2.
And as well as facing the current French champions, Richard Cockerill's men will go head-to-head with another familiar foe in reigning RaboDirect PRO12 holders, the Ospreys.
Leicester have met both Toulouse and the Ospreys six times in Heineken Cup qualification, while they beat Benetton Treviso in the 2008/09 and 2010/11 pool stages.
"It is certainly a tough group - Toulouse are the French champions, Ospreys are the RaboDirect Pro12 champions and Treviso have the majority of the Italian national squad playing there," said Cockerill, who led his side to the Heineken Cup final in his first season in charge in 2009.
"Toulouse are historically the best club in France and they have won the Heineken Cup four times too.
"Leicester have had some great battles with them over the years. They have strength in depth, a lot of international players and the experience of playing in the biggest games too. They have a quality squad. Anyone who can be as consistently good as they are in the French Championship has to be a top-quality side.
"There has been quite a lot of movement in the Ospreys in terms of players and coaches so to still win the league is a fantastic achievement. They beat Leinster in the final which shows just how strong they are. We know just how tough they can be.
"Treviso improve every year. They certainly make it tough for you and they've beaten some big teams in the Heineken Cup in the last few years.
"The Heineken Cup has been a very special tournament in Leicester's history. When you've got the best teams from all over Europe involved you're going to have to be right on top of your game.
"We got to the final in 2009 and the quarter-finals in 2011 and we'll be working as hard as we can to have a good tournament again next season."