Dates to look out for in 2019
The climax of the 2018-19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season is just one of a cascade of highlights to look forward to as we enter the new year.
Exeter Chiefs and Saracens are out in front in the table as we go into 2019 but it could all be different by the time the Gallagher Premiership Rugby final is played on June 1.
With the top four teams in the table after the 22 rounds playing their semi-finals on May 24, only time will tell if it will be a fourth year in a row with the current top two contesting the final.
One date to pencil into the diary before the season reaches its climax is Saracens facing Harlequins at the London Stadium on March 23, as they do battle at the venue for the second consecutive season – Sarries the victors last time out as they came from behind to triumph 25-20.
Thousands of fans are expected to make the pilgrimage from the West Country to Twickenham for ‘The Clash’ when Bath Rugby host Bristol Bears on April 6.
💥 It’s back! 💥 Don’t miss out on another magical day out at The Clash in April, as Bath Rugby take on @BristolBears at Twickenham.
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) August 31, 2018
The inaugural winners of the Premiership Rugby Cup will lift the trophy on March 17, with the semi-finals being played on the weekend of February 8 and 9.
Meanwhile, May will see the climax to the Premiership Rugby Shield, with the semis on May 6 and the final a week later on May 13.
Back-to-back winners Northampton Wanderers are looking to make it three in a row after they beat Exeter Braves in the final of the competition, which is mostly for players aged 23 and under, last season.
Allianz Park will play host to the positional play-offs for the Under-18s academy league final on February 16, with Leicester Tigers looking to defend their title, while the annual Premiership Rugby 7s will take place in July.
Of course, 2019 is a World Cup year and dozens of Premiership Rugby stars are set to be on show when the tournament begins in Japan in the autumn.
It starts with the opener between the hosts and Russia on September 20, with England’s first match against Tonga on September 22.
The semi-finals take place at International Stadium Yokohama on October 26-27, with the final on November 2 at the same venue.
This year’s Six Nations championship kicks off in just over a month, with the opening game between France and Wales at Stade de France on February 1.
Super Saturday will see the final round of clashes on March 16, with England hosting Scotland in the final game at Twickenham Stadium.
Meanwhile, Newcastle will host the finals of the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup on May 10 and 11 respectively, with Premiership Rugby clubs hoping to make it to the final stages, with the opportunity to play at home turf on offer.
February 1 to March 16 – 2019 Six Nations Championship
February 8-9 – Premiership Rugby Cup semi finals
February 16 – Under 18s Academy League final at Allianz Park
March 17 – Premiership Rugby Cup final
March 23 – Saracens v Harlequins at London Stadium
April 6 – ‘The Clash’ Bath Rugby v Bristol Bears at Twickenham Stadium
May 6 – Premiership Rugby Shield semi-finals
May 10 – European Challenge cup final at St James’ Park, Newcastle
May 11 – Heineken Cup final at St James’ Park, Newcastle
May 13 – Premiership Rugby Shield final
May 24 – Premiership Rugby semi-finals
June 1 – Premiership Rugby final
July 2019 – Premiership Rugby 7s
Autumn 2019 – start of the new Premiership Rugby season
September 20 to November 2 – Rugby World Cup in Japan