The Heineken Champions Cup pool fixtures were announced on Friday, with Cardiff Blues facing a trip to Lyon in our first game back in the competition since the 2013/14 season.
In Lyon it will be a side who we met in last year’s Challenge Cup pool stages who we face after winning that competition in Bilbao, and who are making their first ever appearance in the Heineken Cup, to kick off the competition on Sunday 14th October.
From there, Guinness Pro14 rivals Glasgow will arrive at the Arms Park the following Sunday before the December double header sees us go up against Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens away on Sunday 9th, and home on Saturday 15th.
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have taken the step this year of confirming fixtures for rounds five and six at the pool stages, rather than just stating games will be played’on the weekend of’.
Therefore we know Cardiff Blues will bring the pool stages to a close by travelling to Glasgow on Sunday 13th January, before hosting Lyon the following week on Saturday 19th.
In playing terms, John Mulvihill will be pleased to be able to play Lyon, who we did the double over in the Challenge Cup last season, and Glasgow, who are familiar from league rugby, in the first two weeks in an attempt to get off to a good start.
However, plenty will hinge on the huge double header against heavyweights Saracens, with the competition potentially ending for us during that week in December.
The top eight teams will progress from the pool stages to the knockout rounds, with the three best runners-up joining the five pool winners, with the aim being the final in Newcastle on Saturday 11th May.
From a supporter perspective, the Cardiff Blues faithful will no doubt be disappointed with the amount of Sunday games scheduled for the team, but Saturday afternoon games at the Arms Park against Saracens and Lyon will be well received.
All games will be live on BT Sport, with the games against Lyon also on BEIN Sports, while the home game against Saracens will be screened on Channel 4.
Cardiff Blues Heineken Champions Cup pool fixtures
Sunday 14th October – Lyon (a) – 13:00
Sunday 21st October – Glasgow (h) – 15:15
Sunday 9th December – Saracens (a) – 13:00
Saturday 15th December – Saracens (h) – 13:00
Sunday 13th Janaury – Glasgow (a) – 15:15
Saturday 19th January – Lyon (h) – 13:00