Bristol Bears, who last season suffered an agonising semi-final defeat to eventual champions Harlequins, will open the new season of the Gallagher Premiership on Friday 17 September in front of the live BT Sport cameras at 7.45pm. The competition curtain-raiser at Ashton Gate will be one of three live games on BT Sport on the opening weekend as we look forward to supporters returning to stadiums.
Champions Harlequins will start the defence of their title on the road as they travel north to Newcastle Falcons on Sunday 19 September. And our colleagues and fans across the Midlands and North West will also have plenty to cheer about with Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors also hosting home fixtures on the opening weekend.
For the first time since the Premiership started in 1997, 13 teams will contest the league. Saracens are returning to Gallagher Premiership Rugby after beating Ealing Trailfinders 117-15 in the RFU Championship promotion play-off.
Simon Matson, CEO of Gallagher’s broking and underwriting businesses in Europe, Middle East & Asia, said: “It’s always a big day when we reveal the first fixtures of a brand new season of Gallagher Premiership Rugby, but today’s announcement carries extra significance after two heavily disrupted seasons meant that much of the games over the past 18 months have been played behind closed doors. We now hope to be able to welcome back fans at full capacity in stadiums up and down the country.
“With their passion, their loyalty and their encouragement, we know it’s the fans that make the game. So our overriding wish for this season, our fourth as title partner, is for as many people as possible to enjoy a live game experience. I know the Gallagher team can’t wait to be back, giving voice to our support on the ground, pitch-side, and in the communities we serve. Here’s to another exhilarating season of the Gallagher Premiership!”