THE DAWN of a new era for European rugby was launched in Dublin yesterday, as Heineken® announced it will become a founding partner of the new European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup tournaments.
Heineken® is excited to be involved in a tournament widely regarded as the pinnacle of the world game. Heineken has been at the forefront of European rugby since the inception of the professional era 20 years ago, and is looking forward to continuing this proud association.
Leinster captain, Jamie Heaslip, said the build up to the competition was something he was eagerly anticipating. “When I started playing rugby, this is the level I aspired to play at, and luckily enough I’ve been able to do that, and have success. I want to do that again. So it has that heritage, that legacy.”
“It’s the highest level of competition you can play at, the best you can play at, you want to pit yourself against high-quality teams, high-quality players, it just gets you excited and you’re a part of that excitement.”
Heineken® will give rugby fans the ultimate access to matches by offering them the chance to partake in exclusive Heineken® Back Stage Stadium Tours, and to kick off European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches by presenting the coin for the Heineken® Coin Toss alongside the referee and the two captains. There will also be numerous opportunities for fans to win unique prizes in pubs across the country. In addition, Heineken® will also have extensive online and social media rights to bring engaging and exclusive content to fans of European club rugby everywhere.
Karl Donnelly, Senior Sponsorships Manager at Heineken® said: “European club rugby means a great deal to Irish rugby fans. We are proud to be able to keep building on Heineken’s rich rugby heritage via our partnership with the EPCR (European Professional Club Rugby).”
The European Rugby Champions Cup kicks off on Friday, October 17th, as Harlequins face Castres Olympique at the Twickenham Stoop, followed by Munster’s trip to Sale Sharks on Saturday, 18th October, and Ulster’s away game against Leicester Tigers on the same day. Leinster get their European underway on Sunday, October 19th at home to Wasps.
Connacht, meanwhile, are Ireland’s sole representative in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, and begin their campaign against La Rochelle at The Sportsground on October 18th.