Friday 15 November 2019

Cup dates set for Wilkinson and co

The Heineken Cup
The Heineken Cup

Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon will begin the defence of their Heineken Cup crown at home to Glasgow Warriors in October.

Wilkinson, the European Player of the Year, played a key role in the French club landing northern hemisphere club rugby's biggest prize with victory over Clermont Auvergne in last season's Dublin final.

The 34-year-old former England international, who recently underwent a groin operation, will be hoping to launch another successful campaign with the Pool 2 meeting against the Warriors at Stade Felix Mayol on Sunday, October 13.

Clermont, meanwhile, will face a testing examination in their Pool 4 opener as they travel to face Top 14 rivals Racing Metro on the same day.

Saracens, beaten semi-finalists last term, travel to Connacht in Pool 3 on Friday, October 11, and will take another fixture to Wembley a week later for their mouthwatering meeting with French giants Toulouse.

Ulster and Leicester will meet in a crunch Pool 5 engagement on the opening night of the tournament at Ravenhill, and another eagerly-anticipated clash will see Amlin Challenge Cup holders Leinster travel to face the Ospreys in Pool 1 on Saturday, October 12.

The other fixture in Pool 1 on the first weekend sees Northampton travel to Castres, while the Saints' away trip to Leinster in December, a repeat of the memorable 2011 final, will be played at the Aviva Stadium.

In Toulon's group, Cardiff Blues travel to Exeter before hosting the French side the following weekend in what will be the first European club game played on an artificial pitch at the Arms Park.

Harlequins kick off their Pool 4 campaign at home to the Scarlets while, in Pool 6, Gloucester host Perpignan and Munster travel to Edinburgh.

Tournament organisers European Rugby Cup last week named Cardiff's Millennium Stadium as the venue for the final, which will take place on Saturday, May 24.

But the long-term future of the competition is in doubt.

The English and French clubs have served notice they will pull out of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup when the existing participation agreement ends in May 2014; unless changes are made to the sporting and commercial elements of the two tournaments.

PA Media

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