European title holders Leinster will kick off the Heineken Champions Cup campaign against Wasps.

The tournament gets under way in Dublin on Friday, October 12, with four-time European champions Leinster launching the 20-team competition.

Other opening-weekend highlights on the fixture list announced by tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby see Bath host Toulouse, Exeter entertaining Munster, French champions Castres travelling to Gloucester and Premiership champions Saracens visiting Glasgow.

Assessing Exeter’s challenge – the Chiefs are also grouped with Gloucester and Castres – rugby director Rob Baxter told the club’s website: “Playing Munster first up is a great start.

“We know Munster have huge tradition within the competition, so to start off at home against them is fantastic.

“If we can do well in those two games (against Munster and Castres), get ourselves a good start and a few points on the board, I think it will set us nicely for the double-header against Gloucester (in December).”

Bath match against Toulouse on October 13 will be screened live by Channel 4 as part of its deal to show one live game per round.

Newcastle, meanwhile, face a tough opener on their return to top-flight European action after a 13-year absence, with French heavyweights Toulon their opponents on October 14.

The second round of fixtures a week later include an all-Premiership contest between Wasps and Bath, with two more weekends of action in December and the pool stage concluding in January.

Fixtures for the European Challenge Cup have also been announced, with opening-round highlights on October 13 including Northampton’s home game against Clermont Auvergne, Premiership newcomers Bristol welcoming Zebre and Harlequins hosting Agen.

Newcastle United v Augsburg – Pre-Season Friendly – St James’ ParkNewcastle United’s St James’ Park will host the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup finals next May (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will take place at St James’ Park, Newcastle next May.