The Zurich Premiership will continue during October and November despite the fact that the Rugby World Cup will be taking place in that period in Australia.There will also be no change to the points scoring system during the Rugby World Cup so the scoring will remain the same as this season – four points for a win, two points for a draw and bonus points for scoring four tries or more and losing by seven points or less.
Clubs will play each other once during the first 11 rounds of the Zurich Premiership (which are played during the Rugby World Cup) and once during the 11 rounds played after the Rugby World Cup.
“Both the Premier Rugby and England Rugby Boards voted to play the Zurich Premiership during the Rugby World Cup,” said Howard Thomas, Chief Executive of Premier Rugby.
“There will be massive interest in rugby during this period and Premiership rugby will be the only outlet for people to experience live, thrilling professional rugby union in this country, and we anticipate continued growth of the club game during this time.
“The Zurich Premiership remains unchanged from this season – a 22-round league system with a top three play off finale to determine the champions. The structure offers the Directors of Rugby an exciting challenge – the first half of the season will offer the younger, future generation of players a chance to shine whilst the second half, when the Internationals return to action, will provide a gripping climax as all 12 clubs strive for a place in the Zurich Premiership Final."The Premiership clubs will enter the Powergen Cup as usual at the Round Six stage (15th November) and ERC have already confirmed the dates for the European competitions.Premier Rugby also confirmed that promotion and relegation will take place at the end of the season, with the winner of National Division One promoted to the Zurich Premiership in place of the team which finishes bottom of the table this term.
Fixture List – Season 2003/4 (August – October):Zurich Premiership:
September 12Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints
September 13Gloucester v Bristol ShogunsLeicester Tigers v London IrishNEC Harlequins v London Wasps
September 14Newcastle Falcons v SaracensLeeds Tykes v Bath September 20Bath v Northampton Saints
September 21Bristol Shoguns v NEC HarlequinsLondon Irish v GloucesterLondon Wasps v Leeds TykesNewcastle Falcons v Sale SharksSaracens v Leicester TigersSeptember 26Leeds Tykes v Bristol ShogunsSale Sharks v Bath
September 27Gloucester v SaracensLeicester Tiger v Newcastle FalconsNEC Harlequins v London IrishNorthampton Saints v London WaspsOctober 4Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
October 3Bristol Shoguns v Northampton SaintsLondon Irish v Leeds TykesLondon Wasps v BathNewcastle Falcons v GloucesterSaracens v NEC HarlequinsOctober 10Leeds Tykes v SaracensSale Sharks v London Wasps
October 11Bath v Bristol ShogunsGloucester v Leicester TigersNEC Harlequins v Newcastle FalconsNorthampton Saints v London IrishOctober 14Bristol Shoguns v London WaspsGloucester v Sale SharksLeicester Tigers v NEC HarlequinsLondon Irish v BathNewcastle Falcons v Leeds TykesSaracens v Northampton SaintsOctober 17Sale Sharks v Bristol Shoguns
October 18Bath v SaracensNEC Harlequins v GloucesterNorthampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons
October 19London Wasps v London IrishLeeds Tykes v Leicester TigersOctober 25Gloucester v Leeds TykesLeicester Tigers v Northampton SaintsNEC Harlequins v Sale SharksOctober 26
London Irish v Bristol ShogunsNewcastle Falcons v BathSaracens v London WaspsOctober 31Leeds Tykes v NEC HarlequinsSale Sharks v London Irish
N.B: Draft fixture list is subject to change upon publication of the Football League fixture list and all games are subject to change dependening on television coverage.