Cardiff Blues set to face Leinster at home on the opening day

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The first competitive game of the John Mulvihill era at the Arms Park seems set to see Cardiff Blues welcoming reigning Guinness Pro14 champions Leinster to Wales on Saturday 1st September.

Although the fixtures have yet to be officially confirmed, the Irish Examiner has run an article detailing the games the Irish provinces will face in the opening season which names Cardiff Blues as Leinster’s round one opponents.

That game will pitch last season’s Champions Cup champions against the Challenge Cup champions, although the Dublin-based side will likely be without the majority of their Ireland contingent who toured Australia this summer, including Sean Cronin, James Ryan, Garry Ringrose and Johnny Sexton.

Cardiff Blues Challenge Cup 2018
Cardiff Blues won the Challenge Cup the evening before Leinster won the Champions Cup

There could be a debut for new signing Joe Tomane though, as the Australian capped winger joins from Montpellier.

Also in the Examiner piece is news that the Irish sides seem slated to play two derbies leading into the first rounds of European action. If we follow this formula in Wales it would likely mean all-Welsh affairs on the last weekend of September and first weekend of October.

We would then lose either the derby that took place at the end of October last season, or just two derbies over the Christmas period. Having the extra derby at the end of September would only strengthen calls for Judgement Day to happen earlier in the season.

Judgement Day 2
Judgement Day could face increased calls to be moved closer to the start of the season

Elsewhere, we already know the conferences will stay the same next season, and it has been suggested that the fixtures will include confirmed dates and kick-off times for the large majority of games, replacing the system of giving the weekends of games until sometimes just six weeks before the match takes place.

When the full fixture list will be released is still not known, with Pro14 CEO Martin Anayi telling WalesOnline’s Simon Thomas that they should be expected in mid-July, which has now passed.

Once again supporters are left in the dark, with no communication coming from the offices of the Pro14.

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