GLOUCESTER'S first game in next season's Heineken Cup will be away to Irish province Leinster
Dean Ryan's side will make the tough trip to Ireland to face last season's semi-finalists on Saturday, October 21st at 5.30pm in a game that will be shown live on Sky Sports.
It will be a monumental start to the competition for Gloucester as they take on one of the biggest teams in the competition.
Gloucester will then complete the pool stages of the competition with a home game against Brian O'Driscoll's men but those dates and kick-off times have yet to be decided.
In round two, Gloucester will face French side Agen at Kingsholm on Saturday, October 28 at 3pm, where prop Christian Califano will come up against his former side.
In round three, Edinburgh Gunners will make the trip to Kingsholm at 3pm on Saturday, December 9 and on the following Sunday - December 17 - Gloucester will make the trip to Scotland for the return at 1pm for a game that will be shown on Sky.
Munster will launch their defence of the Heineken Cup with a challenging trip to former double winners Leicester Tigers in a Pool 4 clash of past and present champions at Welford Road on Sunday, 22 October (kick-off 15.00).
The Irish province travel to the home of the 2001 and 2002 champions for their first tournament match as holders of European club rugby's most coveted trophy, with Leicester Tigers making the return trip to the Thomond Park fortress in Round 6.
The fixtures, dates, kick-off times and host TV broadcasters for the first four Rounds of the 12th Heineken Cup tournament, released by ERC today (Thursday, 20 July), see English champions Sale Sharks also on the road in Round 1 taking on the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium in Pool 3 on the opening night.
French champions Biarritz Olympique will have home advantage against 2000 Heineken Cup winners Northampton Saints when the opening shots are fired in Pool 6 with top Scottish team Edinburgh Gunners travelling to the South of France to meet Agen, who return to the tournament after a two year absence, in Pool 2.
Welsh No 1 seeds Cardiff Blues will also travel to France to tackle Bourgoin in Pool 4 with Italian standard bearers Benetton Treviso and Irish top seeds Ulster both at home to French opposition, Perpignan going to Treviso and treble champions Toulouse to Belfast.
Tournament newcomers Overmach Rugby Parma will get their first taste of Heineken Cup action away to Border Reivers in Pool 6.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).