by George Willoughby
The schedule for European rugby’s premier competitions have been announced with less than two weeks until the new rugby season kicks off.
Here are some of the key fixtures for the representative Welsh teams:
Coming off the back of Challenge Cup success, new head coach John Mulvihill will be looking for more of the same in Europe’s premier competition.
The capital region find themselves in Pool three alongside Saracens, Glasgow and Lyon.
The Blues open their account with an away trip to the Matmut Stadium de Gerland to face Lyon on Sunday, October 14.
They will be clashing with the familiar face of Owen Farrell and a Saracens side looking to replicate their European dominance of 2016 and 2017. The first encounter between the two teams will be on December 15 at the Arms Park.
The final game of the pool sees Lyon visit the Welsh capital on January 19.
The 2016-17 Pro12 champions and last year’s Champions Cup Semi-finalists Scarlets will be aiming to put last season’s double defeat to Leinster behind them.
They find themselves in Pool Four and face Irish competition again, this time in the form of Ulster.
Racing 92 and Leicester Tigers make up the rest of the pool.
A season opener on October 13 sees the Scarlets host Racing 92 with a trip to Leicester just six days later.
The return match against Leicester falls on Saturday, January 12, and a visit to the Paris La Defense Arena a week later caps off their first round of matches.
Ospreys only narrowly missed out on Champions Cup rugby after losing out 35-17 to Ulster last season in the final Pro14 play-off spot.
They will be looking to go one better for the new season but face stiff competition in the two French sides Section Paloise and Stade Francais. Worcester complete the rest of Pool two.
Head coach Allen Clarke will hope to have his team fully prepared for an opening day tie with Section Paloise, or more commonly known as ‘Pau’ on October 13.
They will make the Anglo-Welsh trip to Sixways to face Worcester on October 20.
The Ospreys will close their pool campaign at the Stade du Hameau on January 18, hoping they still have knockout rugby on their radars.
The 2018-19 Challenge Cup draw places the Dragons in Pool One with Northampton, Clermont Auvergne and Romanian side Timisoara Saracens.
The Dragons will travel to Romania to play Timisoara in their opening fixture, keen to get off to a wining start in a competition which has previously provided their dire domestic form with much needed respite.
They’re on the road again onn December 8, face Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.
Their final away match comes just a week later when they make one of rugby’s toughest away trips to play Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin.
Dragons complete their Pool One games with a home match against Clermont at Rodney Parade on Friday, January 18.