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Foden forecasts Saints surge

Ben Foden is convinced Northampton will be a dangerous animal in next season's Heineken Cup.

The Saints will go into Tuesday's pool draw for the 2011/12 campaign determined to avenge their bitter defeat to Leinster in last month's final.

"We are a good enough team to go away and build from it," said Foden, the Saints and England full-back. "We have shown we can compete with some of the best teams in Europe. I think we are a good enough side to rebuild and make sure we are there or thereabouts again next season."

The seeding system for the draw is based on performances in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup over the past four years.

Defending European champions Leinster will be first out of the hat followed by fellow top seeds Toulouse, Munster, Cardiff Blues, Biarritz and Leicester.

The six clubs will be allocated a pool each and then joined by a team from each of the next three tiers of seeds.

Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys, Bath, Harlequins and London Irish are ranked as second seeds alongside Northampton.

Aviva Premiership champions Saracens are grouped with Ulster, Gloucester, Glasgow and the Scarlets as third seeds.

Irish province Connacht will make their Heineken Cup debut as fourth seeds, along Racing Metro and Top 14 runners-up Montpellier.

Tier 1 - Leinster, Toulouse, Munster, Cardiff Blues, Biarritz Olympique, Leicester Tigers; Tier 2 - Northampton Saints, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys, Bath Rugby, Harlequins, London Irish; Tier 3 - Ulster Rugby, Saracens, Gloucester Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets, Edinburgh; Tier 4 - Connacht Rugby, Benetton Treviso, Castres Olympique, Montpellier, Racing Metro 92, Aironi Rugby.

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