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.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).