Bristol host Bath in Premiership opener as Saracens face Northampton

The 2019-20 Premiership season will start with Bristol hosting West Country rivals Bath on Friday, October 18.

The West Country derby is part of a compelling first round of Gallagher Premiership rugby on the same weekend as the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Japan.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better start than Bath Rugby. When we launched Gallagher Premiership rugby last year – it was a huge, full house at Ashton Gate with both sets of supporters, the weather was good, we played good rugby and obviously got the win – it was a magical night,” Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam said.

“To be asked to do it again – you’ve got supporters from both sets who were there, there are people who missed out and heard about it, so there’s no doubt they’ll want to be there. There’s a good rivalry, all we’ve got to do is play our part in it and make sure we’re at our best.”

Saracens will open their title defence against Northampton at Allianz Park on October 19, while Exeter, who were edged by Saracens in a dramatic Premiership final, launch their own title quest at home to Harlequins on the same day.

Saracens completed the second domestic and European double in their history last season and have been installed as favourites to win both competitions in 2019-20.

They will also stage the first rugby match to be played at the new Tottenham Stadium when Quins visit north London on the weekend of March 27.

London Irish return to the top flight with a trip to Wasps on October 20 in a season that will see the Exiles field big-name signings Waisake Naholo, Adam Coleman, Sean O’Brien and Paddy Jackson.

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