While Ulster Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne and Leinster Rugby, as well as the four Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finalists, are focused on European glory, the outcome of both tournaments will have an impact on qualification for next season's Heineken Cup.
If Ulster Rugby and Leinster Rugby both happen to win their semi-finals this weekend, Connacht Rugby will be guaranteed a place in next season's Heineken Cup.
However, if Edinburgh Rugby and ASM Clermont Auvergne win their semi-final matches, then the 24th place in the 2012/13 Heineken Cup will go to London Wasps provided they retain their Aviva Premiership status for next season.
2012/13 HEINEKEN CUP QUALIFICATION SCENARIOS
• If either Ulster Rugby or Leinster Rugby win the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 19 May, then Ireland will have four clubs - Connacht Rugby, Leinster Rugby, Munster Rugby and Ulster Rugby - in next season's tournament
• If either Edinburgh Rugby or ASM Clermont Auvergne win the Heineken Cup, then the 24th place in the 2012/13 tournament will be allocated to the highest ranked non-French club in the ERC European Rankings which has not qualified through its domestic qualification process. Based on the ERC European Rankings which reward consistent performance over four seasons, London Wasps will secure the 24th place provided they retain their Aviva Premiership status.
• France will have seven clubs in next season's tournament. With Toulon, Stade Francais Paris, Biarritz Olympique and Brive through to the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals, a French winner of the tournament is assured so securing France an additional seventh place in the 2012/13 Heineken Cup.
*Please note that the ERC European Rankings are finalised after the completion of both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments.
HEINEKEN CUP QUALIFICATION
Each of the six competing nations are guaranteed a minimum number of places with the qualification criteria for these places set by the relevant Unions / governing bodies.
• England: six places (performance in Aviva Premiership and LV= Cup winner)
• France: six places (performance in the Top 14 Orange)
• Wales: three places (performance in the RaboDirect Pro 12)
• Ireland: three places (performance in the RaboDirect Pro 12)
• Italy: two places
• Scotland: two places
The remaining 23 and 24th places are determined by who wins the previous season's Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup. Both tournament winners are guaranteed a place in the 2012/13 Heineken Cup and they can also potentially earn their country an additional place in the tournament.
France and England are each limited to seven clubs in the tournament and if either England or France win both ERC competitions, they cannot exceed seven places, while Italy and Scotland cannot exceed two.