TOP BAR - Fixtures

Ten key dates in the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby

Ten key dates in the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby

Excitement levels for the new Gallagher Premiership Rugby season gathered pace on Friday with the release of the fixture list for the 2018/19 campaign.

At the top of the BT Tower in London, players, officials and the media gathered to see the fixtures, with another hugely-anticipated season now just around the corner.

Saracens will be looking to defend their title while there are 11 clubs looking to take down the reigning champions with pre-season well and truly in full swing.

Here, we look at ten key dates that every Gallagher Premiership Rugby fan needs to have in their diary following the fixtures release.

Round 1: Newcastle Falcons v Saracens

The reigning champions start the defence of their title with a difficult away trip up to Newcastle – a team that surpassed all expectations last year.

Dean Richards’ Falcons had a wonderful season at Kingston Park, finishing in the top four for the first time since semi-finals were introduced, and will want to continue where they left off.

They couldn’t be faced with a trickier start though in a game which can be enjoyed live on BT Sport on Sunday afternoon on September 2, kick-off is at 3pm.

Round 4: Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors

Will Spencer and David Denton were key cogs in the Worcester Warriors machine last year but they’ll be plying their trade in the East Midlands with Leicester Tigers come September.

The two forwards face their former club in Round 4 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby to add extra spice to this exciting clash towards the end of September.

Round 6: Harlequins v Saracens

In a first for Gallagher Premiership Rugby, the London derby between Harlequins and Saracens will be shown live on NBC in America as well as BT Sport.

The holders make the short journey to the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday October 6 in a 7.30pm (GMT) kick-off which will be live in the USA at 2.30pm EST.

Round 10: Exeter Chiefs v Saracens

The champions meet last year’s losing finalists for the first time in the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season in the final game before Christmas.

The weekend of December 21/22/23 will see Saracens travel to Sandy Park and give the Chiefs their first opportunity for revenge for that defeat at Twickenham in May.

Round 11: Harlequins v Wasps

Harlequins’ Big Game 11 returns to Twickenham Stadium between Christmas and New Year as they take on Wasps in what should be a thrilling encounter.

The hosts always draw a huge crowd for this game, which will be on Saturday December 29, while Wasps are no strangers to Rugby HQ having reached the league final in 2017.

Round 12: Sale Sharks v Saracens

Sale Sharks welcome in 2019 with a home fixture against Saracens – arguably the toughest start to a new calendar year available to them.

The Sharks have a strong record at the AJ Bell Stadium though and will be looking to make an early statement of intent in the New Year.

Round 17: Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints

An East Midlands derby is always the first fixture sought out by fans of Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers, with the pair meeting in October in Round 6.

The re-match at Welford Road takes place in Round 17 in late March, where crucial points will be on the line, and Tigers will be desperate to avoid the pair of defeats they suffered last season against their oldest rivals.

Round 18: Bath Rugby v Bristol Bears

The Clash takes on a new look for 2018/19 with Bristol Bears replacing Leicester Tigers as the opponents for Bath Rugby’s biggest game of the year.

The Tigers were successful at Twickenham last year but this time around it’s an all-West Country battle as newly-promoted Bristol Bears step into the fold.

The Bears face their near neighbours on the opening weekend but this clash at Rugby HQ on Saturday April 6 is sure to be one to watch for all rugby fans.

Round 19: Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby

Just one week later, Bath face another familiar, and local, foe in Gloucester Rugby as they travel to Kingsholm for another must-watch fixture.

Winger Matt Banahan will face his former club at his new home on the weekend of April 12/13/14 as the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season nears its climax.

Round 22: Leicester Tigers v Bath Rugby

With semi-final places on the line, the final weekend of the season always guarantees drama and it’ll take on an extra edge as Leicester Tigers welcome Bath Rugby.

The history between these two clubs goes back a long way and both teams will have ambitions of making the top four and pushing for a place at Twickenham to coonclude the 2018/19 campaign.

This match at Welford Road could be decisive in that race.

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