18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
It will be the first time the Grandstand programme has gone out of the UK for a Heineken Cup match and with RTE beaming the action into Irish homes, the fixture promises to pull in a massive armchair audience.
That audience will include some of those unlucky enough not to be there - the match is already a 13,400 sell-out.
The clash between high-flying Northampton Saints and French champions Biarritz Olympique will be the Grandstand match in Round 5 with France Televisions providing their viewers with the double dose of Perpignan against Munster and Newport's tough trip to Toulouse.
RTE, BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland, British Europsort and Tele + will all be screening action on a bumper weekend of European club rugby's premier tournament.
Pat Younge, BBC Head of Programmes and Planning, and the man in charge of rugby strategy, said: "We're delighted to be showing both the Northampton and Munster games. This now means that Grandstand has covered five out of the six Heineken Cup pools this season, but we are particularly excited about the Munster game in Limerick as it will be the first time in this competition that we've broadcast from Ireland. The Heineken Cup gives fans a chance to see players from several countries in action, and I'm sure these matches will be great appetisers for the Six Nations in February."
The confirmed fixture schedule for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Heineken Cup, released by ERC, the tournament organisers, is as follows;
Heineken Cup 2002 / 2003 Round 5. (All kick-offs LOCAL time). Friday, 10 January, 2003. Pool 3: Sale Sharks v Glasgow Rugby, 1945: Llanelli v Bourgoin, 1930, BBC Wales / B Euro. Pool 4: Leinster Lions v Swansea, 1935, RTE / B Euro. Pool 5: Edinburgh Rugby v London Irish, 1930.
Saturday, 11 January, 2003. Pool 1: Amatori & Calvisano v Leicester Tigers, 1430, Tele +: Neath v Beziers, 1430. Pool 2: Perpignan v Munster, 1500, FR3 / RTE: Gloucester v Viadana, 1500. Pool 5: Toulouse v Newport, 1500, FR2 / B Euro. Pool 6: Cardiff v Ullster, 1445, BBC N Ireland: Northampton Saints v Biarritz Olympique, 1445, BBC.
Sunday, 12 January, 2003 Pool 4: Montferrand v Bristol Shoguns, 1500.
Round 6. Friday, 17 January. Pool 3: Glasgow Rugby v Llanelli, 1930, BBC Wales. Pool 6: Ulster v Northampton Saints, 1905, BBC N Ireland / B Euro.
Saturday, 18 January. Pool 1: Leicester Tigers v Neath, 1500: Beziers v Amatori & Calvisano, 1500. Pool 2: Viadana v Perpignan, 1500, Tele +: Munster Gloucester, 1445, RTE / BBC. Pool 3: Bourgoin v Sale Sharks, 1500. Pool 4: Swansea v Montferrand, 1500. Pool 5: Newport v Edinburgh Rugby, 1430. Pool 6: Biarritz Olympique v Cardiff, 1500.
Sunday, 19 January Pool 4: Bristol Shoguns v Leinster Lions, 1345. Pool 5: London Irish v Toulouse, 1345.
Quarter-Finals: 11/12/13 April.
Semi-Finals 26/27 April.
Heineken Cup Final: 24th May 2003 - Dublin.