Edinburgh Rugby will kick off their 2012/13 campaign against two-time Heineken Cup champions, and fellow European Cup pool opponents, Munster, at Murrayfield Stadium (weekend of 31 August).
The tournament organisers of the RaboDirect PRO12 confirmed the club’s schedule for the entire season today, with the first batch of dates and kick-off times expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
For the past two seasons, Edinburgh Rugby and Munster have been honours-even on the domestic scene, with each side making the most of home advantage.
Last September, with the Rugby World Cup in full flow, it was down to those left behind to do the business at Murrayfield.
A solo score from then fledgling centre Matt Scott [pictured] and 19 points from the boot of captain Greig Laidlaw contributed to a memorable home win (29-14) and an early claim for the pair's starting role in all three of Scotland's Test successes in the southern hemipshere last month.
Reflecting on the opportunity and threat presented by the famous Irish outfit, Edinburgh Rugby head coach, Michael Bradley, said: “Munster have consistently been one of the top teams in Europe so to face them at home in the season opener is a fantastic challenge, and one which the players and fans will relish.
“The fact that we are drawn in the same Heineken Cup pool will add a bit of spice to the encounter but that’s a completely different competition under a completely different set of circumstances.
“This is a huge match in its own right and I’m sure the players can’t wait to take them on at Murrayfield as we aim to get our league campaign off on the right foot from the outset.”
The club will spend the two weeks leading up to the Munster match sampling the fruits of their pre-season labours in back-to-back friendly matches against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park (Friday 17 August) and Northampton Saints at Murrayfield Stadium (Friday 24 August).
Bradley believes the short trip south for the away match and the chance to face the physicality of the Saints at home, the week before playing Munster, gives players and supporters the ideal opportunity to present a united front for the season ahead.
He added: “Our fans were outstanding last year, breaking Scottish records in the league and cup and making themselves heard from the new pitchside standing area.
“With Newcastle so close I hope we’ll get a good crowd down to cheer on the guys in their first game of the new season, which would lead in nicely to big clash with Northampton before we enter the ring for real against Munster.
“It’s a fantastic start to the season for all of us and I believe that together, with the strong support of the Murrayfield fans, we can deliver a special season for Edinburgh Rugby.”