Cardiff Blues kick off with a trip to Italy hoping for a second successive quarter-final appearance. 

The Welsh region reached the last eight in April but came undone with a hefty defeat away to finalists Toulouse. 

The Blues will be without talismanic number eight Xavier Rush with a knee injury while there are doubts over Jason Spice and Gethin Jenkins. 

But the Italian champions have Welsh lock Peter Sidoli among their ranks and hope to pick up their first win over the Blues following two defeats in the 2005/06 season.