Leinster will launch their defence of the Heineken Cup against London Irish in Dublin on October 9.
Brian O'Driscoll and company, who landed a first European title with victory over Leicester in last season's final, face a Friday night opener.
Gloucester also begin their European campaign on the same evening, hosting Newport Gwent Dragons, while the opening weekend's action also includes a trip to Northampton for double Heineken Cup winners Munster - a repeat of the 2000 final at Twickenham - and last season's losing semi-finalists Cardiff Blues hosting Harlequins.
Also on the first weekend, Leicester take on Welsh outfit the Ospreys, with Sale Sharks facing a daunting trip to Toulouse.
Tournament organisers European Rugby Cup Limited have announced the dates and kick-off times for the opening four rounds of pool action in October and December.
And pick of the pre-Christmas fixtures include Bath's home clash against French giants Stade Francais on October 18, while back-to-back December games including home and away appointments for Cardiff with Toulouse, English clubs Quins and Sale meeting on successive weekends and Leicester tackling Clermont Auvergne.