2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup fixtures announced
Holders Leinster Rugby begin defence against Wasps.
Leinster Rugby, who last season became only the second club in history to win Europe’s blue-riband club tournament for a fourth time, will begin the defence of their title with a mouthwatering Heineken Champions Cup clash against Wasps at the RDS Arena on Friday, 12 October.
The Pool 1 confrontation live on BT Sport is only one of a host of top-quality matches in the fixture schedules for all six rounds of the 2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup which have been announced by tournament organisers EPCR.
While BT Sport continues to lead the television coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the competition which last season featured global stars from 26 countries, will be more accessible than ever to supporters with one key match per round broadcast live and free-to-air on Channel 4 and *TV3.
Round 1 Fri October 12: Leinster v Wasps (RDS Arena) 7.45pm
Round 2 Sat October 20: Wasps v Bath (Ricoh Arena) 3.15pm
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) August 17, 2018
Former tournament winners, Bath Rugby and Toulouse, are set to kick off the free-to-air coverage when they meet in Pool 1 at the Recreation Ground on Saturday, 13 October.
Premiership champions, Saracens, begin their campaign on Sunday, 14 October when they take on Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium, and last season’s Guinness PRO14 runners-up, Scarlets, will be at home against the 2018 Champions Cup defeated finalists, Racing 92, on Saturday, 13 October.
TOP 14 winners, Castres Olympique, make the journey to Kingsholm to face Gloucester Rugby in Pool 2 on Sunday, 14 October, while Cardiff Blues, who triumphed in last season’s Challenge Cup, go head-to-head with tournament debutants Lyon at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland on the same day.
To mark the start of what promises to be an eventful road to the 2019 Newcastle finals, Newcastle Falcons are back in Europe’s top flight for the first time since 2005 and Dean Richards’ side have a demanding opening fixture against RC Toulon at Stade Mayol on Sunday, 14 October.
🏆 Our @ERChallengeCup adventure begins at home, with Clermont the visitors to the Gardens on 13 Oct!
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) August 17, 2018
Highlights of the vital back-to-back matches in Rounds 3 and 4 include the meeting of Saracens and Cardiff Blues, Munster Rugby’s clashes with Castres, the games between Wasps and Toulouse, and Racing 92 and Leicester Tigers, while Leinster’s Round 4 fixture with Bath on Saturday, 15 December will generate another big attendance at the Aviva Stadium.
All 60 matches in Rounds 1 to 6 of the Heineken Champions Cup will be broadcast live in the UK and Ireland on either BT Sport, Channel 4 or TV3, and in France on beIN SPORTS and France Télévisions.
With as many as 12 European titles among the contenders, the Challenge Cup is set for another strong season and the meeting of former winners, Northampton Saints and ASM Clermont Auvergne, at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, 13 October is one of a number of eye-catching Round 1 fixtures, while Perpignan, who return to Europe for the first time since 2014, clash with Sale Sharks at Stade Aimé Giral on Friday, 12 October.
In addition, the Ospreys take on Pau at the Liberty Stadium, Connacht Rugby are at home against Bordeaux-Bègles, Harlequins host Agen, Bristol Bears are up against Zebre Rugby Club, and Worcester Warriors travel to Stade Francais Paris all on Saturday, 13 October.