12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
A three-year deal with ERC gives Sky Sports live coverage of the Heineken Cup and Parker Pen Challenge Cup in seasons 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06.
This season's Heineken Cup kicks-off in December and Sky Sports will cover at least three live ties from each weekend of the tournament, plus both semi-finals and the final. All other games will be covered in special highlights programmes.
From the Parker Pen Challenge Cup the final and two semi-finals will be live and exclusive on Sky Sports.
Welcoming the deal, Derek McGrath, Chief Executive of ERC, said: "This is great news for the 56 clubs across eight countries who compete in our two main tournaments and for rugby fans throughout the UK.
Sky Sports has a massive reputation for its coverage of and commitment to Rugby Union and ERC is delighted to welcome them on board.
"The number of live games they will broadcast in the Heineken Cup at both the Pool stage and in the knock-out stage will ensure the tournament retains its position as the number one club competition in the world game.
"Coming on top of the news announced before last season's Heineken Cup final in Dublin that Heineken will remain our title sponsors for the next two years, this deal proves that Europe's pre-eminent club competition retains its allure and will continue to grow.
"Sky Sports will be with us for at least three years and their high standards of match presentation and promotion will add something new and exciting to our product."
Jean-Pierre Lux, Chairman of ERC, added: "This is an exciting year for rugby with the World Cup taking place in Australia and many of the game's biggest names will be returning to Europe at the end of November to take part in the Heineken Cup.
"Sky Sports has demonstrated to us their great enthusiasm for our tournaments and this new broadcast partnership is set to provide some wonderful entertainment for rugby fans throughout the UK and Ireland."