The European Rugby Cup (known as the Heineken Cup because of the tournament’s sponsorship by Heineken) is an annual rugby union competition involving leading club, regional and provincial teams from six International Rugby Board (IRB) nations in Europe: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Romania competed in the first year of the competition only. The competition is organised by the European Rugby Cup, who are also responsible for the secondary championship, the European Challenge Cup. It is one of the most prestigious trophies in the sport. The tournament was launched in the European summer of 1995 on the initiative of the then Five Nations committee to provide a new level of professional cross-border competition. It is sponsored by Dutch brewing company Heineken International (it is known as H-Cup in France because of alcohol advertising restrictions).
Each European nation has a different qualifying system, though in total, 24 teams contest the pool stages in six pools of four. According to performances, the number of clubs from each nation changes. The tournament is held from October to May, with various stages scheduled around domestic club competitions.
The 2007-08 tournament was won by Ireland’s Munster, who beat Toulouse of France 16–13 in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Toulouse have been the most successful team, winning the competition three times.games