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Leinster to open Heineken Cup defence against Exeter

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ercrugby.com     26 Jul 2012     Getty Images

The 2012 champions, who also triumphed in the world's most competitive club rugby tournament in 2009 and 2011, will in addition play a mouth-watering Round 4 tie in Pool 5 against their great French rivals, ASM Clermont Auvergne, at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 15 December.

Belgium will become the 10th country to stage a Heineken Cup fixture when the 2011 English champions, Saracens, take their ground-breaking Round 2 match against Racing Metro 92 on Saturday, 20 October to the 50,000-capacity King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

Another big attendance will be expected when Racing Metro 92 play their Pool 1 tie against former champions, Munster Rugby, at the Stade de France on Saturday, 13 October.

ERC, the tournament organisers announced the fixtures, dates, kick-off times and live television coverage for the opening four rounds of the 2012/13 Heineken Cup on Thursday, 26 July.

In addition to the decision by four clubs (Leinster Rugby, Racing Metro 92, Saracens and Toulouse) to move fixtures in the opening rounds to bigger venues, all 24 matches in Rounds 1 and 2 will be televised live giving tournament supporters in Europe, as well as new audiences worldwide via ERC's international broadcast partners, the opportunity to view top-quality competition.

Four-time tournament winners and current Top 14 champions, Toulouse, will begin their campaign with a heavyweight clash in Pool 2 against the 2001 and 2002 winners, Leicester Tigers, at Le Stadium on Sunday, 14 October, while Aviva Premiership title holders, Harlequins, are at home to last season's Amlin Challenge Cup winners, Biarritz Olympique, in Round 1 on Saturday, 13 October.

The reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions, Ospreys, are set to meet Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium on Friday, 12 October, and Edinburgh Rugby, who made history last season by becoming the first Scottish club to reach a Heineken Cup semi-final, are scheduled to meet Saracens at Murrayfield in Round 1.

The new Parma-based Italian franchise, Zebre, will make their debut in the tournament against Connacht Rugby at Stadio XXV Aprile on Saturday, 13 October.

With Heineken Cup matches scheduled to be played for the first time at Stadio XXV Aprile, Glasgow Warriors' Scotstoun Stadium, Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park, Sale Sharks' Salford City Stadium and King Baudouin Stadium, the total of tournament venues will reach 103 by the completion of Round 4.

POOLS

Pool 1: Munster Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, Saracens, Racing Metro 92
Pool 2: Toulouse, Leicester Tigers, Ospreys, Benetton Treviso
Pool 3: Biarritz Olympique, Harlequins, Connacht Rugby, Zebre
Pool 4: Northampton Saints, Ulster Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Castres Olympique
Pool 5: Leinster Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets, Exeter Chiefs
Pool 6: Cardiff Blues, Toulon, Sale Sharks, Montpellier

FIXTURES
(All kick-offs local time with live TV coverage where relevant)

ROUND 1

FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2012

Pool 2 Ospreys v Benetton Treviso, Liberty Stadium 20.00 Sky Sports
Pool 4 Ulster Rugby v Castres Olympique, Ravenhill 20.00 Sky Sports/Sport+

SATURDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2012

Pool 1 Edinburgh Rugby v Saracens, Murrayfield 13.35 Sky Sports
Pool 1 Racing Metro 92 v Munster Rugby, Stade de France 14.35 Canal+/Sky Sports
Pool 3 Zebre v Connacht Rugby, Stadio XXV Aprile (Parma) 14.35 Sky Italia
Pool 5 Leinster Rugby v Exeter Chiefs , RDS 15.40 Sky Sports/Canal+Sport
Pool 5 ASM Clermont Auvergne v Scarlets, Stade Marcel Michelin 16.40 FR2/Sky Sports
Pool 3 Harlequins v Biarritz Olympique, Twickenham Stoop 18.00 Sky Sports/Sport+

SUNDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2012

Pool 4 Northampton Saints v Glasgow Warriors, Franklin's Gardens 12.45 Sky Sports
Pool 6 Sale Sharks v Cardiff Blues, Salford City Stadium 12.45 Sky Sports
Pool 2 Toulouse v Leicester Tigers, Le Stadium 16.00 FR2/Sky Sports
Pool 6 Toulon v Montpellier, Stade Felix Mayol 21.00 Canal+/Sky Sports

ROUND 2

FRIDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2012

Pool 4 Glasgow Warriors v Ulster Rugby, Scotstoun Stadium 20.00 Sky Sports
Pool 4 Castres Olympique v Northampton Saints, Stade Pierre Antoine 21.00 Canal+/Sky Sports

SATURDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2012

Pool 5 Scarlets v Leinster Rugby, Parc y Scarlets 13.35 Sky Sports
Pool 2 Benetton Treviso v Toulouse, Stadio Comunale di Monigo 14.35 Sky Italia/Canal+/Sky Sports
Pool 1 Saracens v Racing Metro 92, King Baudouin Stadium (Brussels) 16.40 FR2/Sky Sports
Pool 3 Connacht Rugby v Harlequins, The Sportsground 18.00 Sky Sports
Pool 5 Exeter Chiefs v ASM Clermont Auvergne, Sandy Park 18.00 Sky Sports/Sport+
Pool 3 Biarritz Olympique v Zebre, Parc des Sports Aguilera 19.00 Canal+

SUNDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2012

Pool 1 Munster Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby, Thomond Park 12.45 Sky Sports
Pool 6 Cardiff Blues v Toulon, Cardiff Arms Park 12.45 Sky Sports/Sport+
Pool 2 Leicester Tigers v Ospreys, Welford Road 15.00 Sky Sports
Pool 6 Montpellier v Sale Sharks, Stade Yves du Manoir 16.00 FR2/Sky Sports

ROUND 3

FRIDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2012

Pool 4 Glasgow Warriors v Castres Olympique, Scotstoun Stadium 19.35
Pool 3 Connacht Rugby v Biarritz Olympique, The Sportsground 20.00 Sky Sports/Canal+Sport
Pool 4 Northampton Saints v Ulster Rugby, Franklin's Gardens 20.00 Sky Sports

SATURDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2012

Pool 5 Scarlets v Exeter Chiefs, Parc y Scarlets 13.35 Sky Sports
Pool 2 Toulouse v Ospreys, Stade Ernest Wallon 14.35 Canal+/Sky Sports
Pool 3 Zebre v Harlequins, Stadio XXV Aprile 14.35 Sky Italia
Pool 2 Leicester Tigers v Benetton Treviso, Welford Road 15.40 Sky Sports
Pool 6 Sale Sharks v Toulon, Salford City Stadium 15.40 Sky Sports/FR2
Pool 1 Munster Rugby v Saracens, Thomond Park 18.00 Sky Sports
Pool 1 Racing Metro 92 v Edinburgh Rugby, Stade Yves du Manoir 19.00 Canal+/Sky Sports

SUNDAY, 9 DECEMBER 2012

Pool 6 Cardiff Blues v Montpellier, Cardiff Arms Park 12.45 Sky Sports/Sport+
Pool 5 ASM Clermont Auvergne v Leinster Rugby, St Marcel Michelin 16.00 FR2/Sky Sports

ROUND 4

FRIDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2012

Pool 1 Edinburgh Rugby v Racing Metro 92, Murrayfield 20.00 Sky Sports/Canal+Sport
Pool 3 Biarritz Olympique v Connacht Rugby, Parc des Sports Aguilera 21.00 Canal+/Sky Sports

SATURDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2012

Pool 2 Ospreys v Toulouse, Liberty Stadium 13.35 Sky Sports/Canal+
Pool 2 Benetton Treviso v Leicester Tigers, Stadio di Monigo 14.35 Sky Italia/Sky Sports
Pool 3 Harlequins v Zebre, Twickenham Stoop 15.00
Pool 5 Leinster Rugby v ASM Clermont Auvergne, Aviva Stadium 15.40 Sky Sports/FR2
Pool 5 Exeter Chiefs v Scarlets, Sandy Park 15.40 Sky Sports
Pool 4 Ulster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Ravenhill 18.00 Sky Sports
Pool 6 Montpellier v Cardiff Blues, Stade Yves du Manoir 19.00 Canal+/Sky Sports

SUNDAY, 16 DECEMBER 2012

Pool 4 Castres Olympique v Glasgow Warriors, Stade Pierre Antoine 13.45 Canal+/Sky Sports
Pool 1 Saracens v Munster Rugby, London venue (TBC) 15.00 Sky Sports
Pool 6 Toulon v Sale Sharks, Stade Felix Mayol 16.00 FR2/Sky Sports

ROUND 5

11/12/13 JANUARY 2013

Pool 1 Edinburgh Rugby v Munster Rugby
Pool 1 Racing Metro 92 v Saracens
Pool 2 Ospreys v Leicester Tigers
Pool 2 Toulouse v Benetton Treviso
Pool 3 Harlequins v Connacht Rugby
Pool 3 Zebre v Biarritz Olympique
Pool 4 Ulster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors
Pool 4 Northampton Saints v Castres Olympique
Pool 5 Leinster Rugby v Scarlets
Pool 5 ASM Clermont Auvergne v Exeter Chiefs
Pool 6 Toulon v Cardiff Blues
Pool 6 Sale Sharks v Montpellier

ROUND 6

18/19/20 JANUARY 2013

Pool 1 Munster Rugby v Racing Metro 92
Pool 1 Saracens v Edinburgh Rugby
Pool 2 Leicester Tigers v Toulouse
Pool 2 Benetton Treviso v Ospreys
Pool 3 Connacht Rugby v Zebre
Pool 3 Biarritz v Harlequins
Pool 4 Glasgow Warriors v Northampton Saints
Pool 4 Castres Olympique v Ulster Rugby
Pool 5 Scarlets v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Pool 5 Exeter Chiefs v Leinster Rugby
Pool 6 Cardiff Blues v Sale Sharks
Pool 6 Montpellier v Toulon

QUARTER-FINALS: 5/6/7 April 2013

SEMI-FINALS: 26/27/28 April 2013

DUBLIN 2013 EUROPEAN CLUB RUGBY FINALS

Amlin Challenge Cup final - RDS, Friday, 17 May 2013 (20.00)

Heineken Cup final - Aviva Stadium, 18 May 2013 (17.00)