The new Gallagher Premiership fixtures are only out, but already they’re causing a problem for Bristol Bears.
Bristol, who are back in the top flight for the first time since 2016/17, are due to face Northampton on Saturday September 29th at 3pm, however Bristol City football club, who the Bears share Ashton Gate with are pencilled in to play Aston Villa at the same time.
Two Premiership clubs will share a ground with a football team this season, the Bears and Wasps. Recently relegated London Irish will still play their games at the Madejski Stadium. In the PRO14 the Ospreys ground share with Swansea City football team.
The Bears and Bristol City are both owned by Steve Lansdown. He moved the rugby club’s matches to Ashton Gate in the 2015/16.
Talks are ongoing between the clubs and a resolution is expected to be found, with the Bears now saying that the fixture could be played on the 28th, 29th or 30th.
Meanwhile the Bears have been handed the honour of opening the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season on 31 August.
The Bears – who are back in the top flight after a one-year absence – will face local rivals Bath Rugby at Ashton Gate in the only match on the Friday night.
Bristol Bears head coach Pat Lam said: “It’s great for us to be in Gallagher Premiership Rugby and everybody is relishing the opportunity to test themselves in a fantastic competition.
“Our vision is to inspire our community through rugby success and we are working tirelessly to achieve this through the way we represent ourselves on and off the field.
“To open the season against Bath – and to come up against Todd [Blackadder], a man I know and respect a huge amount – is really exciting and a major boost for our supporters too. We have no doubt they will fill Ashton Gate and create an incredible atmosphere.”
“We are all excited about the upcoming season and the Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures coming out certainly adds to the anticipation,” said Mark McCall, Saracens Director of Rugby.
“Everyone understands the amount of work which needs to be put in over the coming months to ensure we are ready for the challenge ahead.”