Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Munster frustrated by new Heineken Cup lunch date

Toulon captain Jonny Wilkinson and his team mates lift the Heineken Cup

Munster have been hit with yet another Sunday lunchtime kick-off for a crucial home Heineken Cup pool match after their home clash against Perpignan was fixed for December 8 at 12.45pm.

Two of the province's home pool games last season kicked off at that unpopular time.

On the brighter side, they will begin their home campaign with a 6pm Saturday kick-off against Gloucester on October 19 a week after playing Edinburgh at Murrayfield in their opening game (1.35pm).

Connacht will kick off their campaign on Friday, October 11, with last year's semi-finalists Saracens visiting Galway.

Leinster begin their bid to qualify from Pool 1 in Wales as they take on the Ospreys on the opening Saturday at 6pm before hosting French champions Castres at the RDS a week later.

Matt O'Connor's side have moved their home meeting with Northampton to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, December 14 (6pm).

Connacht's home game against Toulouse will be on at the same time at the Sportsground.

Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon will open the defence of their crown at home to Glasgow on Sunday, October 13, while the pick of the first-round games will see Jonny Sexton's Racing Metro hosting Clermont at 8pm that night.

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.

As usual, the fixtures for the final two rounds will not be fixed until after the completion of round four.

The final has been fixed for Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, May 24.

Crucial talks on the future of the competition will take place before then. The English and French clubs have served notice they will pull out when the existing participation agreement ends after next year's final unless changes are made to the sporting and commercial elements of the tournament.

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