Every Gallagher Premiership Rugby club’s pre-season friendlies
With two weeks to go until the start of the new Gallagher Premiership Rugby season, anticipation is already reaching fever pitch for the 2018/19 campaign.
A mouth-watering West Country derby between newly-promoted Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby at Ashton Gate will kick-off the new season in spectacular fashion on August 31.
But before the battle to dislodge reigning champions gets underway, there’s the small matter of pre-season friendlies to get the players back up to speed. Here’s what each club has lined up.
Bath Rugby will host their first pre-season match for four years when they welcome Guinness PRO14 finalists Scarlets to the Rec on August 24, kick-off 7.30pm.
Prior to that match, Todd Blackadder’s side will travel to the Scottish capital on August 17 to take on Edinburgh Rugby, where the director of rugby made 77 appearances between 2001 and 2004.
The Scottish side will feature in the Champions Cup for the first time since the 2013-14 season after finishing an impressive third in their PRO14 conference.
Eager to ensure they are ready for their return to the top flight following their Championship win last season, Bristol Bears have line-up a tough pre-season schedule.
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) August 17, 2018
Pat Lam’s men face a trip to Guinness PRO14 finalists Scarlets in their opening friendly fixture at Carmarthen Park on August 18, with kick-off scheduled for 2.30pm.
Then, on August 24, Bristol play host to a double header versus Championship outfit Nottingham and PRO14 side Connacht ahead of the round one of the Premiership a week later.
Rob Baxter’s men will begin their build up to Exeter’s ninth season in English rugby’s top flight with a trip down the A30 to face Championship outfit Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field on August 17.
Less than 24 hours later, the Chiefs will be in action again, this time on home soil when they welcome Cardiff Blues to Sandy Park on Saturday, August 18 (kick-off 3pm).
Exeter will then wrap up their pre-season games with a trip across the Irish Sea for a first-ever encounter against Munster on Friday, August 24 (kick-off 7.30pm).
As part of their preparations for the 2018/19 season, Gloucester will play their first pre-season friendly against Ulster Rugby at the Kingspan Stadium on August 18 (kick-off 5.30pm).
It will be the first return to the Kingspan Stadium for director of rugby David Humphreys and defence coach Jonny Bell, as well as prop Paddy McAllister.
The Cherry and Whites will follow that up with a home fixture against the Dragons at Kingsholm on Thursday, August 23 (kick-off 7.45pm).
🗞 In the Media | "His attitude and application has been absolutely first-class"
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) August 16, 2018
PRO14 heavyweights Glasgow Warriors will be Harlequins’ second pre-season opponents, at the North Inch Ground in Perth on Saturday, August 18 (kick-off 2pm).
Quins round up their pre-season activity by welcoming Ealing Trailfinders to the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, August 24, for a local derby before getting the new season underway against Sale Sharks.
Tigers travel to Treviso in Italy to take on Benetton Rugby on August 17, who have been regular European Champions Cup rivals and pre-season opponents in recent years.
The final pre-season friendly will be at Welford Road against relegated London Irish on August 24 (7.45pm) before the big kick-off to the campaign against Exeter Chiefs the following weekend.
A busy pre-season awaits Newcastle Falcons after their top-four exploits last season, with Championship side Nottingham having been beaten 47-26 on August 11 in their first game of the summer.
The first of Newcastle’s two away pre-season games sees a testing assignment at European Champions Cup winners and PRO14 champions Leinster in Dublin on August 17.
Edinburgh will also visit Kingston Park as the clubs continue their recent tradition on August 24, before Falcons conclude their pre-season programme against Doncaster Knights on August 25.
The men in Black, Green and Gold, who finished ninth in Premiership Rugby last season, travel to Wales on Friday August 17 to take on Dragons at Rodney Parade.
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) August 17, 2018
Glasgow Warriors will provide the last chance for Saints to get rid of any rustiness before the start of the new season when they welcome them to Franklin’s Gardens on August 24.
Sale Sharks’ clash with Doncaster Knights on August 10 is followed by a traditional appearance in the Challenge Armand Vaquerin tournament in southern France.
Steve Diamond’s men will take on Top 14 champions Castres Olympique again at the Stade Edmond De Villiers following their victory over the French side in 2017 in Rodez.
The defending champions will continue their tradition of heading up the M1 to face Bedford Blues at Goldington Road to kick-off their pre-season schedule on August 18.
Saracens will then battle it out with Welsh PRO14 side Ospreys at the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of the City of London on August 23.
Having defeated Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham in May to regain their Premiership title, Mark McCall’s men will kick-off the new campaign against top four rivals Newcastle on September 2.
Wasps will again face Irish PRO14 opposition on a home-and-away basis in pre-season, with Ulster making the trip to Coventry on Friday, August 24 (kick-off 7.30pm).
Dai Young’s team, who were beaten semi-finalists in the 2017/18 campaign, cross the Irish Sea six days earlier to face Connacht at Dubarry Park in Athlone on Saturday, August 18 (kicks-off 3pm).
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) August 17, 2018
Wasps have contested European Champions Cup matches with Ulster and Connacht over the course of the last two seasons, beating both at the Ricoh Arena but suffering defeats at the Kingspan Stadium and the Galway Showground.
Warriors supporters will be able to see Alan Solomons’ men in action at Sixways Stadium for the first time this summer when they tackle Hartpury on Saturday, August 18 (3pm).