Saturday, August 15, has been revealed as the date targeted by Premiership Rugby to restart the suspended 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season which has been on ice since Bristol’s March 8 win over Harlequins at Ashton Gate.
The coronavirus outbreak has shunted the game world-wide on to the sidelines, but officials in England are now hoping they will be the first league in Europe to return to action, their mid-August restart date coming seven days before the planned Guinness PRO14 return in Ireland with a round of Aviv a Stadium interprovincial derbies.
The selection by Premiership Rugby of the August 15 date will mean a near 23-week, 160-day gap in between matches in a season that still has nine full rounds of fixtures to be played along with playoffs, a total of 57 matches.
A statement released on Friday read: “Premiership Rugby can confirm it is targeting Saturday, August 15, for the resumption of Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
“At a board meeting Thursday night, the target restart date was agreed following the announcement earlier this week that Premiership Rugby clubs can move to stage 1: elite sport return to training. The structure of the 2019-20 season will follow in due course.”
Premiership Rugby CEO Darren Childs added: “Nothing will happen until it is safe to do so but we will do everything we can to resume the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign on Saturday, August 15.
“We won’t take risks with people’s health, and rugby has unique challenges due to levels of proximity and impact, but with a number of clubs moving to stage 1, it is important for us to give players, coaches and clubs clarity on when they can look to return. Bearing that in mind, we look forward to the restart of the season.”
New Zealand will be the first country making a return to games, it’s new all-Kiwi Super Rugby tournament beginning on June 13 in Dunedin.
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