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.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.