Fiery Bath baptism for van Graan as Premiership fixtures released
New Bath boss Johann van Graan will get an immediate taste of the hype surrounding the Gallagher Premiership as last season’s bottom place team will visit neighbours Bristol when the new 2022/23 season opens on September 9 at Ashton Gate. The South African has been recruited from Munster to try and revive the English club that continued to struggle during its recent years with Stuart Hooper as director of rugby – and he has now been handed an away day baptism of fire.
“The Premiership fixtures announcement always generates excitement amongst players, coaches, and supporters – I am sure everyone is looking forward to what lies ahead,” said van Graan, who was appointed incoming Bath boss last December.
“We are relishing the opportunity to open the season with a local derby before back-to-back home matches at The Rec where I know we will be well-supported. Before then, there is a lot of hard work to be done by everyone at the club and we will continue to build towards that first round.”
It was three years ago when Bristol versus Bath was previously the opening fixture for a new Premiership season, more than 26,000 fans packing into Ashton Gate to see the Bears win 43-16, and Pat Lam can’t wait to get started this time around with van Grann now at the helm of the opposition.
“Kicking off the season against Bath is fantastic for both sets of supporters and we are really excited for another big night at Ashton Gate,” said Lam. “Our last two derbies on the opening night of the season have sold out, and we know our community will get behind us again on September 9. It’s a Friday night, live on BT Sport, and everyone at the club – staff, and players – are already relishing the occasion.”
Also on the opening night, it is fourth versus sixth from last season as Sale Sharks welcome Northampton Saints to Salford, while defending champions Leicester will open their title defence the following day away to Exeter. Beaten finalists Saracens have a bye in the opening round. Tigers boss Steve Borthwick said: “We are very excited for the new Gallagher Premiership Rugby season and the challenges that come with being a part of one of rugby’s most competitive leagues.
“Kicking off our campaign away from home against a quality outfit like Exeter Chiefs will be a great opportunity to test ourselves from the opening round against a side of their calibre, before being back at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with all of our supporters in the second round for an exciting clash with Newcastle Falcons.”
Gallagher Premiership Rugby Round One
Friday, September 9
Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby – BT Sport
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints – PRTV Live
Sunday, September 11
Gloucester Rugby v Wasps – BT Sport
Gallagher Premiership Rugby Round Two
Friday, September 16
Northampton Saints v London Irish – BT Sport
Saturday, September 17
Bath Rugby v Sale Sharks – PRTV Live
Harlequins v Saracens – BT Sport
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcon – PRTV Live
Wasps v Bristol Bears – PRTV Live
Sunday, September 18
Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs – BT Sport
- Click here to see all the Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures
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