Agen will play their 50th European Challenge Cup match when they travel to Parma on Saturday, 22 October in Round 1 of this season's tournament.
Agen, the 1998 finalists, will be the first club to top the half century of competition matches, the 2005 / 2006 tournament consisting of 20 top flight clubs from six countries playing in five Pools of four teams. The five Pool winners and the best three runners-up will qualify for the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be one-off matches played at home venues and the final at a neutral venue on the weekend of 20 / 21 May, 2006.
The new Pool format, which will provide each of the 20 participating clubs with a minimum of six games (three home and three away), will replace the previous season's knock-out structure and the European Shield tournament.
Seven French, six English, four Italian and one team from each of Ireland, Scotland and Romania went into the last month's European Challenge Cup Pool draw. The top teams from France (Agen), England (Gloucester), Italy (Viadana), Ireland (Connacht) and Scotland (Border Reivers) were seeded and drawn in separate pools.
ERC, the tournament organisers, today (Tuesday, 30 August) confirmed the dates and kick-off times for the first five rounds of the tournament with former Heineken Cup winners Northampton Saints (2000) home to Viadana and Brive (1997) away to Newcastle Falcons on the opening Saturday.
The Italians will provide new Saints fly half Carlos Spencer with his first taste of European cross-border rugby action, the former All Blacks fly half, along with Saints team-mate and fellow New Zealand international Sam Harding, among the world class names new to the tournament.
Border Reivers, boosted by the return of Scottish and Lions legend Gregor Townsend, open their Pool 4 account at L'Aquila. The Scottish side will also face one of Townsend's former clubs, Brive, along with Jonny Wilkinson's Newcastle Falcons.
And former Scotland scrum half and new Gloucester Rugby backs coach Bryan Redpath - who lifted the trophy as a player for the second time with Sale Sharks last month - finds his new club starting with a French away test at Bayonne in Pool 3.
ERC will annouce the fixtures for Round 6 at a later date.
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP 2005 / 2006
Pool 1: Viadana, Narbonne, Northampton Saints, Bristol
Pool 2: Agen, London Irish, Rugby Parma, Pau
Pool 3: Gloucester, Bayonne, Toulon, Bucuresti
Pool 4: Border Reivers, Brive, Newcastle Falcons, L'Aquila
Pool 5: Connacht, Montpellier, Worcester, Amatori Catania
THE FIXTURES (All kick-offs LOCAL times)
Saturday 22 October
Pool 1 Narbonne v Bristol 18.30
Northampton Saints v Viadana 15.00
Pool 2 Rugby Parma v Agen 15.00
Pau v London Irish 18.30
Pool 3 Bayonne v Gloucester Rugby 19.00
Bucuresti v Toulon 15.00
Pool 4 Newcastle Falcons v Brive 14.30
L'Aquila v Border Reivers 15.00
Pool 5 Connacht v Amatori Catania 14.30
Worcester v Montpellier 14.00
Friday 28 October
Pool 1 Viadana v Narbonne 19.30
Pool 5 Montpellier v Connacht 19.30
Saturday 29 October
Pool 2 Agen v Pau 18.30
Pool 3 Gloucester Rugby v Bucuresti 15.00
Toulon v Bayonne 18.30
Pool 4 Brive v L'Aquila 18.30
Sunday 30 October
Pool 1 Bristol v Northampton Saints 15.00
Pool 2 London Irish v Rugby Parma 15.00
Pool 4 Border Reivers v Newcastle Falcons 16.00
Pool 5 Amatori Catania v Worcester 16.00
Friday 9 December
Pool 1 Viadana v Bristol 19.30
Pool 5 Montpellier v Amatori Catania 19.30
Saturday 10 December
Pool 1 Northampton Saints v Narbonne 15.00
Pool 2 Pau v Rugby Parma 18.30
London Irish v Agen 15.00
Pool 3 Bucuresti v Bayonne 14.00
Toulon v Gloucester 18.30
Pool 4 L'Aquila v Newcastle Falcons 15.00
Pool 5 Worcester v Connacht 14.00
Sunday 11 December
Pool 4 Border Reivers v Brive 16.00
Friday 16 December
Pool 1 Narbonne v Northampton Saints 19.30
Pool 3 Bayonne v Bucuresti 19.00
Saturday 17 December
Pool 2 Rugby Parma v Pau 14.30
Agen v London Irish 18.30
Pool 3 Gloucester Rugby v Toulon 15.00
Pool 4 Brive v Border Reivers 18.30
Pool 5 Connacht v Worcester 14.00
Sunday 18 December
Pool 1 Bristol v Viadana 15.00
Pool 4 Newcastle Falcons v L'Aquila 14.30
Pool 5 Amatori Catania v Montpellier 15.00
Friday 13 January, 2006
Pool 3 Bayonne v Toulon 19.00
Saturday 14 January
Pool 1 Narbonne v Viadana 18.30
Northampton Saints v Bristol 15.00
Pool 2 Rugby Parma v London Irish 14.30
Pau v Agen 18.30
Pool 3 Bucuresti v Gloucester Rugby 14.00
Pool 4 L'Aquila v Brive 15.00
Pool 5 Connacht v Montpellier 14.00
Worcester v Amatori Catania 14.00
Sunday 15 January
Pool 4 Newcastle Falcons v Border Reivers 14.30
Pool 1 Viadana v Northampton Saints
Bristol v Narbonne
Pool 2 London Irish v Pau
Agen v Rugby Parma
Pool 3 Toulon v Bucuresti
Gloucester Rugby v Bayonnne
Pool 4 Border Reivers v L'Aquila
Brive v Newcastle Falcons
Pool 5 Montpellier v Worcester
Amatori Catania v Connacht
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP QUARTER-FINALS: 31 March / 1 / 2 April
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP SEMI-FINALS: 22 / 23 April
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP FINAL: 20 / 21 May
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.