Saracens’ opening match in defence of their European Rugby Champions Cup title against RC Toulon at Stade Félix Mayol on Saturday, 15 October will be refereed by John Lacey of Ireland.
Lacey, who will be taking charge of his 51st European fixture, is among the referee appointments for Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2016/17 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup announced today by a selection committee chaired by Joel Jutge, EPCR’s Head of Match Officials.
On the same day that the Champions Cup and Aviva Premiership double winners clash with the three-time tournament winners in the south of France, last season’s PRO12 champions, Connacht Rugby, will host Toulouse in Pool 2 at the Sportsground where England’s Luke Pearce will be in charge.
Wayne Barnes of England will be in the middle for the Round 1 meeting of 2016 TOP 14 winners and Champions Cup runners-up, Racing 92, and Munster Rugby at Stade Yves-du-Manoir on Sunday, 16 October while Wales’ Nigel Owens has been appointed to referee the Pool 4 game between Northampton Saints and last season’s Challenge Cup winners, Montpellier, at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, 15 October.
The Champions Cup campaign gets underway live on BT Sport on the new playing surface at Scotstoun on Friday, 14 October with the Pool 1 confrontation of Glasgow Warriors and Leicester Tigers which will be refereed by Mathieu Raynal of France.
Wales’ Ben Whitehouse will be in charge for the kick-off of the 22nd European club season when Harlequins take on Stade Francais Paris live on Sky Sports in a repeat of the 2011 Challenge Cup final at The Twickenham Stoop on Thursday, 13 October.
The 40 clubs in the tournaments have qualified on merit through their performances in the continent’s three leading professional leagues or from the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition.
The culmination of this season’s epic European journey will be in Edinburgh when BT Murrayfield will host the 2017 Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals on 12 and 13 May.