Leinster will launch the defence of their Heineken Cup crown with an away trip to Montpellier in Round 1 on Saturday, 12 November, with the French tournament debutants taking the match to Stade de la Mosson, the 32,900-capacity home of League 1 football club Montpellier HSC.
Leinster will also play a fourth tournament match at the Aviva Stadium when they meet Bath Rugby in Round 4 on Saturday, 17 December. The champions have won all three previous games staged at the home of Irish rugby beating ASM Clermont Auvergne in a Pool match and Leicester Tigers and Toulouse in the knock-out stages last season on the way to their second Heineken Cup crown in three seasons.
ERC, the tournament organisers, on Wednesday announced the fixtures, dates, kick-off times and host broadcasters for the opening four rounds of the 2011 / 2012 tournament.
English champions Saracens – who will welcome South Africa’s 2007 World Cup winning captain John Smit to the club in the autumn – will take their Round 3 clash with the Ospreys on Saturday, 10 December, to London’s Wembley Stadium.
Connacht Rugby, who join Montpellier in making their Heineken Cup debut this season, will meet Amlin Challenge Cup holders Harlequins in Pool 6 on Friday, 11 November – the opening night of the 17thseason of elite European club rugby action – before welcoming four-time champions Toulouse to Galway in Round 2 on Saturday, 19 November.
Harlequins face a tough away trip in Round 4 when they take on Toulouse at Le Stadium on Sunday, 18 December.
Northampton Saints, the 2011 finalists, will also be on the road in Round 1 as they travel to Thomond Park to meet the 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup winners, Munster in Pool 1.
Aironi Rugby, the Italian franchise set for their second season in the competition, will have home advantage when they host former double champions Leicester Tigers at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella on the opening Saturday.
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.