Connacht to host Toulouse on opening Champions Cup weekend

Leinster first in action of Irish sides, Ulster and Munster travel to France

Connacht will host Toulouse on the opening weekend of the Champions Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Connacht will host Toulouse on the opening weekend of the Champions Cup. Photograph: Inpho

 

Guinness Pro12 champions Connacht will welcome four-time European Cup winners Toulouse to the Sportsground on the opening weekend of the Champions Cup.

The French side heads for Galway on Saturday October 15th (5.30) in a game that will be shown live, on BT Sport. Earlier that afternoon Leinster will be the first of the Irish provinces in action in this season’s tournament when they host familiar foes in Castres Olympique at the RDS (3.15), That match is also on Sky Sport.

Ulster and Munster travel to France on the opening weekend of the Champions Cup with Les Kiss’ Ulster travelling to Bordeaux Begles (1.0, Irish time), the new home of Irish international and former Leinster outhalf Ian Madigan, while Munster’s first European match under Rassie Erasmus couldn’t be much tougher with a trip to the French Top 14 champions, Racing 92 (3.15, Irish time).

Ronan O’Gara, Racing’s defence coach, will be on hand to welcome his former province to Paris. Both games take place on Sunday, October 16th and will be shown live on Sky Sports. Leinster make the trip to France the following week on Sunday, October 23rd (1.0, Irish time), where they will face Montpellier. The last time these sides met at the Altrad stadium it ended in a 16-16 draw.

Munster’s first home game of the campaign is the previous day, when they host Pro12 rivals, the Glasgow Warriors (1.0), while Ulster will embrace a couple of sons of the province, in Gareth Steenson and Ian Whitten, albeit that they will be wearing Exeter Chiefs jerseys. That match has a 7.45pm kickoff. Connacht travel to play Zebre (3.15, Irish time) on the Sunday afternoon.

The back-to-back games in November are mouth-watering with Leinster travelling to Franklin’s Gardens on the Friday night before hosting the English side at the Aviva stadium eight days later. It was honours even the last time they squared off with the away side prevailing in the two matches.

Munster play the Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park first before travelling to Welford Road, Ulster get a first crack at Clermont Auvergne at the Kingspan stadium before travelling to the Stade Marcel Michelin while Connacht travel to the Ricoh arena in Coventry where they’ll face Wasps, before squaring up against the English side in Galway the following weekend.

On the final weekend of the pool stage Leinster, Munster and Ulster are all at home while Connacht travel to the scene of their most famous European triumph in Toulouse.

Irish provinces: Champions Cup fixtures

October 15th

Leinster v Castres (BT Sport) 3.15pm

Connacht v Toulouse (Sky Sports) 5.30pm

October 16th

Bordeaux v Ulster (Sky Sports) 1.00pm

Racing Metro v Munster (Sky Sports) 3.15pm

October 22nd

Munster v Glasgow Warriors ( Sky Sports) 1.00pm

Ulster v Exeter Chiefs (BT Sports) 7.45pm

October 23rd

Montpellier v Leinster (Sky Sports) 1.00pm

Zebre v Connacht (BT Sport) 3.15pm

December 9th

Northampton v Leinster (BT Sport) 7.45pm

Decemeber 10th

Ulster v Clermont (Sky Sports) 1.00pm

Munster v Leicester (BT Sport) 3.15pm

December 11th

Wasps v Connacht (Sky Sports) 1.00pm

December 17th

Leicester v Munster (BT Sport) 3.15pm

Connacht v Wasps (Sky Sports) 5.30pm

Leinster v Northampton (BT Sport) 7.45pm

December 18th

Clermont v Ulster (Sky Sports) 3.15pm

January 13th-15th

Glasgow v Munster

Connacht v Zebre

Leinster v Montpellier

Exeter v Ulster

January 20th-22nd

Munster v Racing

Toulouse v Connacht

Castres v Leinster

Ulster v Bordeaux

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