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Gallagher Premiership opening fixtures announced

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Gallagher Premiership opening fixtures announced

Newly-promoted Bristol 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.”

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The fixtures have been compiled once again with Atos, the company that works with both the Premier League and English Football League.

Saturday sees Worcester host Wasps, Harlequins will play Sale, Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs hosting Leicester Tigers.

Champions Saracens have to wait until the final day of the weekend to kick off the defence of their title against beaten semi-finalists Newcastle Falcons.

“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.”

The closure of Twickenham Stadium in September – for redevelopment work – means there will be no London Double Header this year.

However, Premiership Rugby will break new ground on 6 October when the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Saracens (7.30pm kick off) will be televised live on network TV in the US on NBC (rather than NBC Sports) for the first time.

The fixtures for the Premiership Rugby Cup will be announced at noon on Friday 13 July.

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Gallagher Premiership opening fixtures announced