The Heineken Cup kicks off for its eighth season on October 11th 2002, promising more of the drama, excitement and heartbreak that has gripped Europe since the tournament's inception in 1995.
Twenty-four sides from six countries will take to the field in what is an unparalleled challenge in World club rugby, and the pinnacle of the 15 man code for players from across the globe.
To win the Heineken Cup, teams must beat the best Europe has to offer. Coaches must pit their wits against different kinds of opposition, teams must master different tactics, in different climates, in different environments. Only one side can conquer these challenges- and that side will be the Champions of Europe.
From relatively humble beginnings at Farul Constanta on the Black Sea in 1995, The Heineken Cup has grown into a tournament of international prestige, widely described by coaches and players as the tournament to be involved in, and the tournament to win.
Last year's final in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium saw the 2001 champion's Leicester Tigers tackle the 2000 finalists Munster Rugby.
The setting was fitting for the biggest game of the season, and 74,600 fans- the biggest Heineken Cup crowd ever - saw a titanic battle under the closed room of the Cardiff showpiece stadium.
Leicester reigned supreme, winning 15-9 and going home with the trophy for the second year running.
And Leicester are back in Wales to defend their crown for the opening game of this year's competition. The Tigers travel to the Gnoll to take on Neath on Friday.
Expect a vociferous Welsh welcome and a tumultuous battle.
And nine months from the first whistle in Neath, when the twenty four sides will have been whittled down to just two, the passion, tension, joy and pain seen in Cardiff last May will be transferred to Dublin, for the Heineken Cup final 2003...
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.