How and where to watch Gallagher Premiership Rugby kick off
Gallagher Premiership Rugby is back with a bang this weekend and viewers can feast on four live matches across the first weekend of the season.
A mouth-watering Bristol Bears clash with local rivals Bath Rugby headlines the action on Friday night, while defending Champions Saracens, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester Rugby, Newcastle Falcons, Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints are also set to strut to their stuff in front of the TV cameras.
It all begins on Friday night with a huge West Country derby live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD as Bristol Bears host Bath Rugby.
The Bears were relegated from the top flight two seasons ago but bounced straight back up and have their eyes set on a more positive campaign.
With the highly-regarded Pat Lam in charge and with a squad boasting the likes of Charles Piutau, Ian Madigan and George Smith, there is much excitement around Ashton Gate in the build-up to the campaign.
However, Bath are experienced campaigners and are looking to build on a sixth-placed finish last time around. The build-up to the first game of the season begins at 7pm, with kick-off following at 7.45pm.
If that derby isn’t enough to whet the appetite then the main course is something to savour, with back-to-back matches on Saturday afternoon.
The cameras will first be at Kingsholm to witness Chris Boyd’s first game in charge at Northampton Saints as they travel to face Gloucester Rugby.
Boyd has moved across from the Hurricanes to take charge at Franklin’s Gardens but he is in danger of being upstaged on debut by a mouth-watering match-up at fly-half.
Gloucester and Northampton have both signed plenty of players but Gloucester’s Danny Cipriani and Northampton’s Dan Biggar are the stand-out names – and they could go head-to-head. You can watch from 1.30pm on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD, with the match starting at 2pm.
That is part one of an exciting double-header, which also sees last season’s runners-up Exeter Chiefs host Leicester Tigers at 4.30pm.
The Chiefs topped the table last season and lost just once at home, while the Tigers will hope to make the top four after missing out for the first time in 14 years last time around.
The opening weekend draws to a close on Sunday but the fixture computer has perhaps saved the best until last, with Newcastle Falcons hosting Champions Saracens.
The Falcons won plenty of hearts with an attacking brand of rugby on their way to the semi-finals last season while Saracens lifted their third League crown in four years. The pre-match build-up starts from 2.30pm on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD, and the match kicks off 30 minutes later.
Channel 5 is back with all the highlights from 8pm on Monday night while from 7.30pm, FreeSports is broadcasting the first live action from the Premiership Rugby Shield.
FreeSports is showing one live match per round and starts with a cracker as last season’s runners-up Exeter Braves travel to Allianz Park to face Saracens Storm.
Friday 31 August
Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby, programme starts at 19.00, kick off 19.45, BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD
Saturday 1 September
Programme starts at 13.30, BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD (first match only) Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints, kick off 14.00
Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers, kick off 16.30
Sunday 2 September
Newcastle Falcons v Saracens, programme starts at 14.30, kick off 15.00 BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 4K UHD
Monday 3rd September
Gallagher Premiership Rugby Highlights 20.00 Channel 5
Premiership Rugby Shield – Saracens Storm v Exeter Braves programme starts at 19.30, kick off 19.45