Fixtures - Top Bar

Bristol Rugby’s Dwayne Peel gunning for first Twickenham victory

He never managed it as a player, but now in his first full season as a coach former British & Irish Lion and Wales superstar Dwayne Peel has a Twickenham victory in his sights.

Aviva Premiership Rugby’s new boys Bristol Rugby travel to Rugby HQ to face local boys Harlequins on the opening day of the season at the blockbuster London Double Header event.

It will be a baptism of fire in the league for Bristol, who are returning to the top table of English rugby for the first time since 2009 after their promotion from the Championship.

They will not have to wait long for their first home game at Ashton Gate as they take on Northampton Saints in Round 2, but Peel – in his first season as Andy Robinson’s attack coach after retiring from playing in March – is adamant the focus is on their curtain raiser.

“To go to Twickenham first up is a fantastic way for us to start,” he said. “Some Championship games last year were played in front of 500-600 people.

“So to take on Harlequins at Twickenham is a brilliant opportunity and the boys are buzzing for it – it can’t come quick enough to be honest.

“We’ve been together a long time now; it’s hard putting in the mileage on the treadmill every week so it will be a relief for everyone to get some competitive rugby under our belts.

“Of course Twickenham is up there in terms of the world’s best stadiums, but I never won there as a player so it is not a successful place for me!

“It’s a massive stadium and fantastic to play there, but in many ways we couldn’t have a tougher start playing Quins there, followed by Northampton, Wasps, Exeter Chiefs, and Saracens.

“There are no easy games in this league, but we’re relishing it and it would be great for our guys to show they are up to speed in the Aviva Premiership on the first week.  They certainly will be after the first six weeks.”

Harlequins are a side in transition following the departure of Conor O’Shea and appointment of John Kingston as director of rugby in his stead.

But Peel does not believe that will give Bristol – who won 20 of their 22 games in the Championship last season before beating Bedford Blues and Doncaster Knights in the play-offs – any advantage heading into the Twickenham showcase.

“There obviously will be some changes there, but I don’t think the side will change too much from last year," he added.

“They have great half-backs who run the game well and are elusive, so I can’t see them switching too many things around as it wouldn’t be in their interest.

“We’ll have a good crack at them. Confidence is high in the squad at the moment, and it’s just about going out there and getting up to the speed of the Aviva Premiership.

“Especially for the guys that haven’t played at this level, they will need to deliver a performance.”

Start the Aviva Premiership Rugby Season in style with two games from £25 at Twickenham. Harlequins v Bristol Rugby and Saracens v Worcester Warriors in the London Double Header, 3 September. Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk

Latest News

Alex Rieder re-signs for Wasps

Wasps are pleased to announce that back row Alex Rieder has signed a new contract with the club ahead of…

Alex Rieder

Warriors swoop for Wasps’ Tom Howe

Warriors have swooped to sign Wasps Academy starlet Tom Howe ahead of the 2017/18 season. The exciting young winger, who…

Tom Howe

Round 17 Preview: Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs

Leicester Tigers have won their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures, but have not won four in a row in…

James Short

Brooker joins Bath Rugby on loan

Hooker Chris Brooker has joined Bath Rugby on loan until the end of the season. Bristol-born Brooker, who had a…

Chris Brooker

Gloucester-Hartpury Women excited to appear at Kingsholm on Saturday

Following the conclusion of the Aviva Premiership game against Harlequins on Saturday, it'll be the turn of the Gloucester-Hartpury Women…

Yeandle hails defensive resolve

Jack Yeandle believes Exeter Chiefs will need to replicate their defensive showing from the weekend for the whole 80 minutes…

Jack Yeandle

Win a place on the Lions Tour with Land Rover

Land Rover, a long-standing partner of Premiership Rugby, is on the hunt for grassroots Lions fans and looking to give…

Josh Strauss Joins Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks are delighted to announce the signing of Scottish International Back Row Forward Josh Strauss on a three year…

Josh Strauss

Parling pleased after Chiefs ‘tough’ out win over Falcons

Geoff Parling praised his Exeter Chiefs team-mates for grinding out a “tough victory” against Newcastle Falcons at the weekend. The…

Geoff Parling

RFU Disciplinary: Aaron Morris

Aaron Morris of Harlequins RFC will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel charged with tackling the jumper in the air,…

Vereniki Goneva, Brad Barritt and Sinoti Sinoti top the OPTA Rugby Rankings

Brad Barritt topped the OPTA tackling rankings in Round 16 after a rugged performance as Saracens ended their two-game losing…

Aviva Premiership Rugby Weekend Round-up

Gavin Henson showed how costly his injury absence might have been for Bristol Rugby this season as he starred in…

Newcastle Falcons sign Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows

Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows has become Newcastle Falcons’ latest signing as the club continues its recruitment for next season.…

Dean Richards

Saints sign Springbok scrum-half

Northampton Saints has today announced the signing of Cobus Reinach ahead of the 2017/18 season. The 27-year-old scrum-half joins the…

Cobus Reinach

Wasps sign Fijian international Gaby Lovobalavu

Wasps are delighted to announce that Fijian international centre Gabiriele (Gaby) Lovobalavu will join the club ahead of the 2017/18…

Gabiriele-Lovobalavu

Exeter Charity Celebrates hitting £1m milestone

A charity set up just six years ago to help promote the local community and the vision of people who…

Chiefs Foundation

Exeter backs agree new deals

Rob Baxter’s forward planning for next season and beyond is continuing with the news that three more of his Exeter…

Olly Woodburn