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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
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International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615