10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
We are delighted to welcome Sport + into our broadcasting stable for the first time. Their introduction will strengthen our coverage and provide both the clubs and their fans with a considerable boost ahead of the kick-off of this season's tournament, said ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux.
Their commitment to the tournament will be demonstrated on the first weekend when they provide their viewers with live coverage from no fewer than three matches from three different countries.
With the extra impetus of Sport +, live coverage of the Heineken Cup is set to expand across Europe this season. That can only be good news for everyone who wants to follow the dozens of world stars who will be on display in the Heineken Cup.
Michel Denisot, Executive Vice President in charge of sports at Canal+ Group, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sport+, said: The Heineken Cup is an extremely powerful and exciting competition. It is a strong addition for our rugby fans who already benefit from an unprecedented offer of top-level, live local and international rugby coverage. Sport+, which will host Fabien Galthii as permanent guest commentator and special consultant to the channel, confirms its position as the place of choice to rugby lovers, and sports fans in general.
Sport + will join forces with RTE and Sky Sports in showing the action from the re-match of last season's quarter-final when Leinster Lions host Biarritz Olympique at Lansdowne Road in Pool 3 on Saturday, 6th December.
That game kicks-off at 3.00pm local time and after that the Sport + subscribers will be able to watch another French-Irish battle when Bourgoin entertain Munster in Pool 5 at Stade Pierre Rajon.
Then, on Sunday, 7 December, Sport + will once again join Sky Sports in showing the crunch match between the newly crowned English champions London Wasps and last season's beaten Heineken Cup finalists, Perpignan.
In Round 2, the Sport + cameras will be on duty on Friday, 12th December at Stade Ernest Wallon for the first home game for the reigning European champions, Toulouse, when they meet Heineken Cup newcomers Leeds Tykes at 7.30pm local time.
Parc des Sports Aguilera will be the venue for Sport + coverage from Round 3 when they cover the Pool 3 clash between Biarritz Olympique and Cardiff Blues.
Toulouse will also be on the agenda in Round 4 when they travel to face the newly formed Welsh regional side, the Neath-Swansea Ospreys, on Friday, 16th January, 2004.
Heineken Cup 1st Round Fixtures (All kick-offs LOCAL time)
Friday 5th December. Pool 4: Llanelli Scarlets v Northampton Saints, 19.45, Sky Pool 6: Celtic Warriors v Calvisano, 19.15 Saturday 6th December. Pool 1: Stade Francais v Leicester Tigers, 16.00, FR2 / Sky Pool 3: Sale Sharks v Cardiff Blues, 17.00 Sky Leinster Lions v Biarritz Olympique, 15.00, RTE/Sky/Sport+ (broadcast December 7 at 13.00 French time) Pool 4: Agen v The Borders, 19.30 Pool 5: Bourgoin v Munster, 18.00, Sport+: Benetton Treviso v Gloucester, 14.30 Sunday 7th December. Pool 1: Gwent Dragons v Ulster, 14.30 Pool 2: Leeds Tykes v Neath-Swansea Ospreys, 14.30: Edinburgh Rugby v Toulouse, 13.00, Sky / FR3 Pool 6: London Wasps v Perpignan, 15.00, Sky / Sport+ (broadcast at 18.00 French time)