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Glasgow at the Gardens for Heineken Cup opener

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Five days later, the Saints will be back in familiar territory as they travel to Castres' Stade Pierre Antoine for the third season running. The Round 2 fixture will take place on Friday, October 19th at 9pm (7pm BST).

Following a five-week break for domestic and international rugby comes the big double-header with Ulster in December. Last year's finalists will first come to the Gardens under the lights, that contest an 8pm kick off on Friday, December 7th, 2012. That is followed straight after by a trip across the Irish Sea and to Ravenhill for another evening kick off in Round 4, the return fixture with Ulster scheduled for Saturday, December 15th, 2012 at 6pm.

Pool 4 will come to its conclusion the following month when the Saints first host Castres on the weekend of January 11th-13th, 2013, before their final away game at Glasgow on the weekend of January 18th-20th, 2013. Full details on Round 5 and 6 fixtures will be announced following the conclusion of Round 4 in December.

After the disappointment of last season's campaign, which began in heart-breaking defeat at Munster, Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder is pleased to be starting the 2012/13 campaign on home soil.

"We saw last year how important it is to make a good start in the Heineken Cup," he commented. "Playing our opening game at home gives us the perfect opportunity to do just that this time around. We are however fully aware of the dangers posed by Glasgow and certainly won't be underestimating the threat they will pose.

"We also know how difficult a place Castres is to travel to the week after and in such a challenging Pool, points gained on the road could be vital. Then, victory at home in the back-to-back ties with Ulster will be crucial to set the tone for the following week. They are another side we know well and after our meeting in 2011, not to mention their run to the final last season, we are fully aware that Ulster are one of the most dangerous sides in the competition.

"That said, there is plenty of rugby to be played even before we start our Heineken Cup campaign. We are keen and fully focused on starting our Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign in the best possible fashion - something that will hopefully give us the momentum we need to challenge in Europe come October 14th."

All of the Saints' home Heineken Cup games are included in the 2012/13 Season Ticket package.

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