Tuesday 24 April 2018

Leinster to launch Euro defence in Montpellier

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE glamorous city of Montpellier will be Leinster's first port of call in their Heineken Cup defence on Saturday, November 12.

Joe Schmidt's men will head for the south of France to meet the Top 14 finalists -- last season's domestic surprise package -- at the local Ligue 1 football stadium, the Stade de la Mosson, which has a 32,900 capacity.

The Aviva Stadium will again be called into action for the holders' fourth-round home game against Bath on December 17. The Blues beat Clermont Auvergne at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road at the same stage last year.

Connacht will open their debut campaign in London against old foes Harlequins at the Stoop when the competition kicks off on Friday, November 11 -- less than three weeks after the World Cup final.

However, the big date in Eric Elwood's mind will be the following week's home clash with Toulouse.

Munster take on Northampton Saints, last year's beaten finalists, in their opening game on Saturday, November 12 at Thomond Park, while Ulster start with the difficult home clash against Clermont Auvergne.

Aviva Premiership champions Saracens, who open their campaign at home to Benetton Treviso, have confirmed they will tackle the Ospreys at Wembley Stadium on December 10.

Kick-off times for the final two rounds are yet to be confirmed. These fixtures are a reversal of the opening two weekends.

The 17th Heineken Cup final will be staged at Twickenham on May 19 or 20.

Irish Independent

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