Planet Rugby

Saints open season on Friday night

04th July 2014 11:00

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Northampton celebrate with Aviva Premiership trophy

Holders: Northampton Saints

Aviva Premiership champions, Northampton Saints, will kick off the new season and the defence of their title at Franklin's Gardens against Gloucester.

Saints, who defeated Saracens after extra time in the Final last May, will have the honour of playing in the first match of the new Aviva Premiership season on Friday September 5.

"It will be exciting to start the 2014/15 season under the lights on a Friday night and at home at Franklin's Gardens," said Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"The last time we played at home was the Aviva Premiership semi-final, and if we can start next season in the same type of atmosphere as we finished 2013/14 then it will be tremendous. Gloucester have made a lot of changes behind the scenes this summer, and it will be an exciting test.

"We know that as champions we are there to be aimed at and that every team we play will raise their game against us. The three away games at Wasps, Newcastle Falcons and London Irish will be difficult, while Sale and Bath will no doubt be looking to take a step up from last season's improvements.

"I'm fully expecting the Aviva Premiership to be more competitive than ever this season. But as always we will be taking it one game at a time and looking to get a positive result every week."

Northampton have also confirmed they will take Tom Wood and Co on the road, playing Saracens at home at stadiummk on April 25.

On the opening weekend more than 65,000 fans will descend on Twickenham for the annual London Double Header.

The London Double Header kicks off at 2pm on Saturday September 6 when last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby runners-up Saracens entertain Wasps, followed hot on their heels by London Irish hosting Harlequins.

Saracens will also make a return to Wembley on Saturday March 28 when another huge crowd will be expected to watch rugby at the home of English football. Saracens will compete against Harlequins at Wembley who will again host a Christmas match at Twickenham this time against Northampton Saints on 27 December.

"The London Double Header is a fantastic way of starting the new season," said Saracens boss Mark McCall.

"It's a great occasion and a real showpiece event, one that everyone looks forward to. There are some great games in the opening rounds of what should be another exciting season of Aviva Premiership."

London Welsh, who were promoted from the RFU Championship in May, are at the Kassam Stadium in their first weekend entertaining Exeter Chiefs on Sunday September 7, before going on the road to Bath.

"We're delighted to be at home for the club's first game back in Aviva Premiership," said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.

"Sunday at the Kassam Stadium will be a great opportunity to show the people of Oxford what the Premiership is all about and hopefully we can get a good crowd in and get the stadium bouncing.

"The reason why we were successful last season was down to our work ethic and our environment.

"We don't claim to be world beaters but what we will produce is a tremendous attitude. If we get beaten on the day by a better team with better players then that's life, but it certainly won't be for a lack of trying.

"This week has been our first week back in training and I've already been very impressed with the attitude of the new players, and by how quickly they've settled in and adapted to the London Welsh ethos.

"With our drive and focus, hopefully we can go on to maintain our Aviva Premiership status."

The opening weekend of Aviva Premiership Rugby (all times BST):

Friday September 5:

Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby (19:45)

Saturday September 6:

Saracens v Wasps (Twickenham, 14:00)
Sale Sharks v Bath (14:00)
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons (15:00)
London Irish v Harlequins (Twickenham, 16:30)

Sunday September 7 :

London Welsh v Exeter Chiefs (14:00)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411