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Heineken Cup viewers are in for a birthday bonanza as the world's leading club competition celebrates its 10th anniversary season with more live coverage than ever before.

The tournament's UK Host Broadcaster, Sky Sports, will be giving their customers a staple diet of six live matches in each of the opening four rounds - with a bonus of a delayed live game in the first two weekends of matches in October.

In addition to Sky's blanket coverage, there will be terrestrial broadcasts in both Ireland and France with RTE and France Televisions showing at least one live game every weekend.

It all adds up to the biggest and best broadcast coverage in the history of the competition with the Celtic League winners Llanelli Scarlets and two-times champions Toulouse kicking-off the action at Stradey Park on Friday, 22 October.
That is one of two televised matches on the opening night with the game at Stade Aime Giral between Perpignan and Edinburgh Rugby being shown delayed live.
Saturday will see armchair fans get the chance to settle down to almost six hours of live action, kicking -off at Rodney Parade at 1.00pm when Tri-Nations winner Percy Montgomery's Newport Gwent Dragons will tackle Jonny Wilkinson's Newcastle Falcons.

The French champions Stade Francais Paris tackle Gloucester at 3.00pm (4.00pm kick off local time) in a game that will also be broadcast by France Televisons. To round off the Heineken Cup's 'Super Saturday' service, Irish favourites Munster will host the European Challenge Cup holders NEC Harlequins at 5.15pm in a game that will also be live on RTE.

Sunday's fare is equally appetising with Glasgow Rugby entertaining the 2000 Heineken Cup winners Northampton Saints at 1.00pm before the reigning champions London Wasps launch the defence of their title against French giants Biarritz Olympique at 3.00pm.

"This is going to be a special season for the Heineken Cup and the coverage we have secured from our current broadcast partners will ensure the best action is carried into millions of homes across Europe," said ERC chief executive Derek McGrath.
"Seven of the 12 games in the opening round in October will be broadcast either live or delayed live and that commitment is continued in round two. There will be a minimum of six live matches in the following two rounds as the action intensifies.
"We are confident that the quality of the games in this the 10th season of Heineken Cup rugby will enable us to continue to show a growth in gates and the increase in television coverage should help to further broaden the appeal and impact of the tournament. We are grateful to all our broadcast partners for their on-going commitment to deliver the best possible action in the most professional and entertaining way and look forward to another great competition."

Such is the commitment of Sky Sports to providing the best and broadest coverage of the Heineken Cup that they will cover 21 of the 24 competing teams in the opening four rounds.

And for those Heineken Cup lovers who feel they might have missed any of the action there is a Sunday night bonus in the shape of Sky's three-hour long European Rugby Special that will ensure there is no excuse not to keep up to date with all the thrills, spills and tries in the 2004/2005 Heineken Cup.

Friday 22 October
Pool 5 Perpignan v Edinburgh Rugby 20.30 SKY (Delayed Live)
Sunday 31 October
Pool 5 Edinburgh Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons 13.00 SKY
Pool 5 Newcastle Falcons v Edinburgh Rugby 14.30
Saturday 11 December
Pool 5 Edinburgh Rugby v Newcastle Falcons 17.30