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Premiership Rugby

Premier Rugby clubs vote to continue the Zurich Premiership during Six Nations

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Premier Rugby today confirmed that three rounds of the Zurich Premiership will be played through the Six Nations period this coming 2003/04 season.

This opportunity has arisen following the decision by the Six Nations participants to withdraw from playing a full set of 'A' internationals during the Six Nations. The Zurich Premiership rounds will take place on the three weekends that England play away (w/e 14th February, 21st February and 27th March). The change further improves regular home and away rugby for the clubs, supporters and players and ensures greater continuity for the Zurich Premiership.

In a recent survey of Premiership rugby fans, conducted by the University of Leicester, the lack of season structure was identified as a major concern and area of dissatisfaction amongst the supporters. Several Premiership clubs were without a home match for up to ten weeks last season as a result of the break in campaign and the Premiership clubs welcome the decision to continue with the Premiership campaign throughout February and March.

Howard Thomas, Chief Executive of Premier Rugby, the umbrella organization responsible for the 12 Zurich Premiership clubs, explained the decision, "We have been working hard to resolve the current season structure issues for some time and are pleased to be able to provide supporters with a more consistent Premiership programme next season. This structure will be trialed this coming season and has been agreed by the Premiership clubs and is fully supported by our commercial partners.

"Mid-week games have never been an ideal solution for players or supporters. By playing through the Six Nations we are able to reschedule the mid-week games ensuring all the players have at least a week's recovery between each match. It also means that there will not be any Premiership games on the same weekend as the European semi finals which reduces the likelihood of having to further rearrange fixtures. We were reluctant to change a fixture list which has already been issued but feel this was an excellent opportunity to improve the Rugby World Cup season for the benefit of the Premiership.

"This is a new move for us but the decision was made having considered the success of playing through the Autumn Internationals. During this period there seems to be no negative effect on attendance or support for the club game and we are confident that the Premiership games played during the Six Nations period will be as equally supported as those played during the Autumn Internationals."

The new Zurich Premiership season kicks off on Friday 12th September 2003.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The fixtures previously scheduled for:

  • Midweek 14th/15th October will now be played on the weekend of 14th February
  • Midweek 31st December/1st January will now be played on the weekend of 27th March
  • Weekend of the European semi final 24th/25th April will now be played on the weekend of 21st February
  • Matches will not be played at the same time as the England Six Nations matches

Please see below the fully updated fixture list.

Fixture List – Season 2003/4

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16 Aug London Pride Middlesex Charity 7s 11.20 Sky
23 Aug Wales England
24 Aug London Wasps Stade Francais 14:00 Sky
30 Aug France England
6 Sep England France
Round 1
12 Sep Sale Sharks Northampton Saints 19:45
13 Sep Gloucester Rotherham 15:00
Leicester Tigers London Irish 15:00
NEC Harlequins London Wasps 14:45 Sky
14 Sep Newcastle Falcons Saracens 14:30
Leeds Tykes Bath 14:30
Round 2
20 Sep Bath Northampton Saints 14:15
Rotherham NEC Harlequins 14:45 Sky
21 Sep London Irish Gloucester 15:00
London Wasps Leeds Tykes 15:00
Newcastle Falcons Sale Sharks 14:30
Saracens Leicester Tigers 15:00
Round 3
26 Sep Leeds Tykes Rotherham 20:00
Leicester Tigers Newcastle Falcons 19:45
Sale Sharks Bath 19:45
27 Sep Gloucester Saracens 14:45 Sky
NEC Harlequins London Irish 15:00
Northampton Saints London Wasps 15:00
Round 4
4 Oct Leicester Tigers Sale Sharks 14:45 Sky
Rotherham Northampton Saints 15:00
5 Oct London Irish Leeds Tykes 15:00
London Wasps Bath 14:00 Sky
Newcastle Falcons Gloucester 14:30
Saracens NEC Harlequins 15:00
Round 5
10 Oct Sale Sharks London Wasps 19:45
11 Oct Bath Rotherham 14:15
Gloucester Leicester Tigers 14:45 Sky
NEC Harlequins Newcastle Falcons 15:00
Northampton Saints London Irish 15:00
12 Oct Leeds Tykes Saracens 14:30
Round 6
18 Oct NEC Harlequins Gloucester 15:00
Northampton Saints Newcastle Falcons 16:00
Rotherham Sale Sharks 15:00
19 Oct Bath Saracens 14:00 Sky
London Wasps London Irish 15:00
Leeds Tykes Leicester Tigers 14:30
Round 7
25 Oct Gloucester Leeds Tykes 15:00
Leicester Tigers Northampton Saints 15:00
NEC Harlequins Sale Sharks 15:00
Newcastle Falcons Bath 14:45 Sky
26 Oct London Irish Rotherham 15:00
Saracens London Wasps 15:00
Round 8
31 Oct Leeds Tykes NEC Harlequins 20:00
Sale Sharks London Irish 19:45 Sky
1 Nov Bath Leicester Tigers 14:15
Northampton Saints Gloucester 14:45 Sky
Rotherham Saracens 15:00
2 Nov London Wasps Newcastle Falcons 15:00
Round 9
8 Nov Gloucester Bath 15:00
Leeds Tykes Sale Sharks 14:45 Sky
Leicester Tigers London Wasps 15:00
NEC Harlequins Northampton Saints 15:00
9 Nov Newcastle Falcons Rotherham 14:30
Saracens London Irish 15:00
15 Nov Powergen Cup Round 6
Round 10
21 Nov London Wasps Gloucester 19:45 Sky
Sale Sharks Saracens 19:45
22 Nov Bath NEC Harlequins 14:15
Northampton Saints Leeds Tykes 15:00
Rotherham Leicester Tigers 15:00
23 Nov London Irish Newcastle Falcons 15:00
Round 11
29 Nov Gloucester Northampton Saints 15:00
Leicester Tigers Bath 15:00
NEC Harlequins Leeds Tykes 15:00
Newcastle Falcons London Wasps 14:45 Sky
30 Nov London Irish Sale Sharks 15:00
Saracens Rotherham 15:00
6 Dec European Cup Round 1
13 Dec European Cup Round 2
Round 12
19 Dec Sale Sharks NEC Harlequins 19:45
20 Dec Bath Newcastle Falcons 14:15
Northampton Saints Leicester Tigers 14:45 Sky
Rotherham London Irish 15:00
21 Dec London Wasps Saracens 15:00
Leeds Tykes Gloucester 14:30
Round 13
26 Dec Sale Sharks Rotherham 19:45
27 Dec Gloucester NEC Harlequins 15:00
Leicester Tigers Leeds Tykes 15:00
London Irish London Wasps 14:45 Sky
Saracens Bath 15:00
28 Dec Newcastle Falcons Northampton Saints 14:30
1 Jan ZP match from Round 13 or 14selected by broadcaster Sky
Round 14
3 Jan Leicester Tigers Gloucester 15:00
4 Jan London Irish Northampton Saints 15:00
London Wasps Sale Sharks 15:00
Newcastle Falcons NEC Harlequins 14:30
Rotherham Bath 15:00
Saracens Leeds Tykes 15:00
10 Jan European Cup Round 3
17 Jan European Cup Round 4
24 Jan European Cup Round 5
31 Jan European Cup Round 6
Round 15
6 Feb Leeds Tykes London Irish 20:00
Sale Sharks Leicester Tigers 19:45
7 Feb Bath London Wasps 14:15
Gloucester Newcastle Falcons 15:00
NEC Harlequins Saracens 15:00
Northampton Saints Rotherham 15:00
14 Feb Italy England
Round 16
Gloucester Sale Sharks tbc
Leicester Tigers NEC Harlequins tbc
Rotherham London Wasps tbc
15 Feb Newcastle Falcons Leeds Tykes 14:30
London Irish Bath tbc
Saracens Northampton Saints tbc
21 Feb Scotland England
Round 17
Bath Leeds Tykes tbc
21 Feb Northampton Saints Sale Sharks 15:00
Rotherham Gloucester tbc
London Irish Leicester Tigers tbc
London Wasps NEC Harlequins tbc
Saracens Newcastle Falcons tbc
28 Feb Powergen Cup Quarter-finals
6 Mar England Ireland
13 Mar Powergen Cup Semi-finals
20 Mar England Wales
27 Mar France England
Round 18
26 Mar Sale Sharks Gloucester 19:45
Bath London Irish tbc
Leeds Tykes Newcastle Falcons tbc
London Wasps Rotherham tbc
NEC Harlequins Leicester Tigers tbc
27 Mar Northampton Saints Saracens 15:00
Round 19
2 Apr Rotherham Leeds Tykes 19:45
3 Apr Bath Sale Sharks 14:15
4 Apr London Irish NEC Harlequins 15:00
London Wasps Northampton Saints 15:00
Newcastle Falcons Leicester Tigers 14:30
Saracens Gloucester 15:00
10 Apr European Cup Quarter-finals
17 Apr Powergen Cup Final
Round 20
16 Apr Leeds Tykes London Wasps 20:00
Leicester Tigers Saracens 19:45
Northampton Saints Bath 19:45
Sale Sharks Newcastle Falcons 19:45
18 Apr Gloucester London Irish 15:00
NEC Harlequins Rotherham 15:00
24 Apr European Cup Semi-finals
Round 21
1 May Gloucester London Wasps 15:00
Leicester Tigers Rotherham 15:00
NEC Harlequins Bath 15:00
2 May Leeds Tykes Northampton Saints 14:30
Newcastle Falcons London Irish 14:30
Saracens Sale Sharks 15:00
Round 22
8 May Bath Gloucester 15:00
Rotherham Newcastle Falcons 15:00
London Irish Saracens 15:00
London Wasps Leicester Tigers 15:00
Northampton Saints NEC Harlequins 15:00
Sale Sharks Leeds Tykes 15:00
15 May Zurich Premiership Semi Finals