Fixtures announced for Pro12 & HCup

Irish Launch of the 2012/13 Heineken CupMUNSTER RUGBY’S 2013/14 Heineken Cup and RaboDirect Pro 12 fixture dates have been announced.
Munster’s European campaign will start in Murrayfield on Saturday October 12 against last year’s pool opponents Edinburgh Rugby.
Rob Penney’s men will also kick start their Pro12 season against Edinburgh.
Munster’s opening game in their domestic league will be at home on the weekend of September 6/7/8.
Round 2 of the Heineken Cup will see Munster welcome Gloucester Rugby to Thomond Park a week later with an evening kick-off time of 6pm.
The famously tough task of the ‘back to back’ games in December includes a home start against Perpignan on Sunday December 8 and the return leg six days later at Stade Aimé Giral.
In the New Year Munster travel to Kingsholm for round 5 and then complete their pool games at home in Thomond Park for round 6 against Edinburgh Rugby.
The dates and kick-off times for rounds 5 and 6 will be confirmed after the round 4 games are completed.
Munster’s second and third games in the Pro12 will see them travel to Italy where a week long stay will see them play Zebre and Benetton Treviso.
Rounds 4 and 5 against Newport Gwent Dragons and Leinster will be played at home in the lead up to the 2013/14 Heineken Cup campaign.
Rounds 4 and 5 against Newport Gwent Dragons, 27-29 September and Leinster Oct 4-6 October will be played at home in the lead up to the 2013/14 Heineken Cup campaign.
Rob Penney, Munster coach, was happy with the scheduling of the fixtures when he spoke to this week.
“When the pool draw was done we were very positive about our pool, and now that the fixtures are out it’s great that we have a few Saturday fixtures, especially an early evening Saturday game in Thomond Park for the supporters.”
Playing Edinburgh so much does present its own challenges and it’s a case of the devil you know versus the devil you don’t. Edinburgh won’t be the same side as they were last year and if they replicate what they did the year before, they will be very dangerous. You can’t leave any stone unturned in terms of preparation and we can’t assume anything based on last year’s results, and that’s with everybody.”
Penney,  speaking about the Perpignan challenge, added that the back to back games will be a tough challenge.
“Perpignan are a side that are really trying to force their way in to the top echelon of the Top 14. They are going to take this competition, as they always do, really seriously and they will look to be another French club to make it to that top level of Heineken Cup which is always challenging. I know it is a six day turnaround but they have to travel home after the first leg so it all equates out to be fair, and we’ll have the same build-up to the game. The group that caters for that the best will end up being in the best shape for that second back to back game. There are a few things to get sorted before we get to that point but it is something to be mindful of.
“We’ll hopefully have all our squad available and we’ll determine what we’ll do as we get closer to the business part of that programme.”