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Northampton face Munster test

Heineken Cup runners-up Northampton will launch their 2011/12 European campaign with a daunting trip to two-time champions Munster in the pick of the first-round fixtures.

The Heineken Cup season kicks-off on Friday, November 11 - less than three weeks after the Rugby World Cup final - with Cardiff Blues travelling to Racing Metro and Harlequins hosting tournament debutants Connacht.

The following day, Northampton tackle Munster at Thomand Park and European champions Leinster, who came from 22-6 down to beat the Saints in a remarkable final in May, launch the defence of their title away at Montpellier.

The French Top 14 finalists have confirmed the fixture will be moved to the city's 32,900-capacity Stade de la Mosson, home of the city's Ligue 1 football club.

Leinster have scheduled their round four fixture against Bath for the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, scene of their quarter-final and semi-final victories over Leicester and Toulouse, respectively, last season.

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. The fixtures are a reversal of the opening two weekends.

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


From Belfast Telegraph