Leicester Tigers will begin the defence of their Aviva Premiership crown with a clash against Worcester Warriors at Welford Road.
Richard Cockerill won’t be in charge of the champions on the day though, with the head coach facing a nine-game ban for his antics during the 37-17 victory over Northampton Saints in the final at Twickenham.
The clash with the Warriors completes an intriguing opening weekend of the season, with Bath’s trip to Newcastle the first match of the campaign on Friday, 6th September.
Four games follow on the Saturday, including the traditional London double header at Twickenham. London Irish face Saracens, before Wasps and Harlequins clash later in the same afternoon. Gloucester host Sale and Exeter travel to Northampton in the day’s other matches, before the Leicester-Worcester clash the following day.
The opening weekend will also be an exciting one for BT Sport, who have four matches to show live over the first three days. They include the opening game, the London derbies and Leicester’s opener.
The TV channel then have three games every weekend up to an including round seven, with plenty more to follow after that when the changing fixture dates are agreed.
“BT Sport is the new home of club rugby and we’ll be broadcasting 69 live and exclusive Aviva Premiership Rugby games across the season. Friday night’s coverage will be anchored live from the grounds with games broadcast live on a Saturday and Sunday from the BT Sport Studio,” said Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, in a press release sent to GiveMeSport.
“We have a fantastic rugby team in place with Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kay, Matt Dawson and Austin Healey serving as BT Sport rugby experts. Reporting duties fall to Sarra Elgan and Martin Bayfield.
“I’m also delighted to announce a new Wednesday night show, Rugby Tonight, which will be hosted by Matt Dawson, Craig Doyle, Martin Bayfield and Sarra Elgan, which will offer a mixture of rugby analysis, debate and lively entertainment.”
Phil Winstanley, Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby, is also optimistic about the season ahead, predicting a ‘compelling and competitive’ campaign for fans to enjoy.
“Every year the anticipation over the new fixtures grows and looking at the 2013-14 season it is clear we have huge matches every weekend,” he added in the press release.
“Matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby get more compelling and competitive every year and last season we once again had a smaller average winning margin (a slim 11 points) in our games than in any other League in the world.”