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.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.
Gloucester return to European Rugby Challenge Cup action on Thursday evening with the visit of Stade Rochelais to Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm). Early Bird ticket prices are available until 6:30pm on matchday.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.