18 May, 00:08
Munster have announced that Ronan O'Gara has retired from playing professional rugby. It's understood that the 36 year old will take up a coaching role abroad at the start of the 2013/14 season.
And given that Pools 4 and 5 look the most likely to provide two sides for the Heineken quarters, that would mean that London Wasps, Scarlets, Castres, Clermont Auvergne and Munster are all in contention for the three places on offer.
Three from that quintet would join Stade Francais, La Rochelle, Montpelier, Brive and Harlequins in the quarter final away from home.
Last season Cardiff Blues gained entry through the Heineken Cup and rounded off their season with victory after a titanic struggle with Munster's conquerors Toulon.
So Munster's clash with London Irish on Saturday assumes a greater importance than might have been considerd in the immediate aftermath of defeat yesterday afernoon in Toulon.
The Munster Rugby Ticket Exchange facility is open for this game with more details available here.