Thursday 25 December 2014

Foley's European reign kicks 
off with trip to Sale Sharks

Published 15/08/2014 | 02:30

Anthony Foley

Anthony Foley will begin his quest for European glory when Munster open their Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 campaign against Premiership outfit Sale Sharks.

Munster will travel to the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday, October 18 for a lunchtime kick-off (1.0) before facing a six-day turnaround when they will welcome last year's beaten Heineken Cup finalists Saracens to Thomond Park.

Three-time European winners and current Pro12 champions Leinster also face English opposition in their first game as they take on Wasps at 5.15 the following day before a trip to France to play Castres on Sunday, October 26 (2.0)

Ulster face a tough opening test when they play Leicester Tigers at Welford Road (Saturday, October 18, 7.45) in what will be interim coach Les Kiss' first European game in charge of the Northern province.

Ulster beat the Tigers at the same venue last year and face another difficult test a week later against reigning European and French champions Toulon at Ravenhill.

Jonathan Sexton's Racing Metro will be looking to put last season's disappointing European campaign behind them when they host Premiership champions Northampton Saints.

All 20 games in Rounds 1 and 2 will be broadcast live on television, with BT Sport and Sky Sports sharing the coverage.

Connacht will start their Challenge Cup campaign with a home tie at the Sportsground against newly promoted Top 14 side La Rochelle.

Meanwhile, the French domestic season kicks off this evening when defending Top 14 champions Toulon travel to Bayonne.

Toulon, who begin life after Jonny Wilkinson, have named Australian Matt Giteau at fly-half with European Player of the Year Steffon Armitage starting at No 8.

Sexton is expected to start for Racing Metro tomorrow when they take on Montpelier.

Recruit

Toulouse's new recruit, former Leicester Tigers fly-half Toby Flood, has been passed fit ahead of their opener against Oyonnax.

Former Ireland and Leinster hooker Bernard Jackman takes charge of Grenoble for the first time with a daunting trip to Stade Marcel Michelin to play Clermont Auvergne.

Jackman, who was promoted from defence and collisions coach to head coach after Fabrice Landreau left the role at the end of the last season, includes former Munster scrum half Mike Prendergast in his back-room team.

Prendergast spent last year as skills coach but has now taken up the position as backs coach with the French side.

Irish Independent

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