Gallagher Premiership preview: How to watch and when does it start?

Gallagher Premiership preview: How to watch and when does it start?
All you need to know about the upcoming Gallagher Premiership season

The Gallagher Premiership season gets under way on Friday but it will be without some of the players who were selected for the British and Irish Lions tour earlier this summer.

The 13 England players who went on the tour are allowed to rest until the middle of October and so the likes of Elliot Daly, Courtney Lawes and Anthony Watson won’t be seen in the opening rounds.

Full-capacity crowds will, however, be returning, and there are more games for supporters to attend this term as there was no relegation in the league last campaign.

There are 13 clubs this season, which means one club will be left out of every round as there is an odd number. This has resulted in four more rounds being added the regular season ahead of the semi-finals and final.

But how will supporters watch from home? And who is playing whom first? Here is all you need to know about the upcoming rugby season.

When does it start?

The new season begins on Friday 17 September with a match between Bristol Bears and newly promoted Saracens. The game will kick-off at 7.45pm BST.

Where can I watch?

BT Sport once again has the broadcasting rights in the UK to show the league and they will be airing selected games throughout the season. Customers can also stream the matches on the broadcaster’s app and on their website.

Who was promoted and relegated last season?

Saracens were promoted from the Championship after they won the two-leg final 117-15 over Ealing Trailfinders. The London club, captained by England star Owen Farrell, had been relegated in the 2019/20 season as a penalty for breaking the salary cap.

No clubs were relegated in the 20/21 season due to the pandemic and so this season will be played with 13 teams.

Is there relegation this season?

Premiership Rugby are bidding to expand the league to 14 clubs so there will be no relegation this season but there will be promotion from the Championship.

Next season there won’t be relegation or promotion to give clubs who have recently been promoted time to adjust to the league and give other teams time to plan with ‘greater certainity’, according to the governing body. And in the 23/24 season there will be a play-off between the winner of the Championship and the bottom club of the Premiership to determine who will play in the top flight in 24/25.

Odds

Saracens – 15/8

Exeter Chiefs – 5/2

Bristol Bears – 5/1

Sale Sharks – 13/2

Harlequins – 12/1

Northampton Saints – 16/1

Wasps – 20/1

Leicester Tigers – 22/1

Bath Rugby – 25/1

Gloucester Rugby – 50/1

Worcester Warriors – 100/1

London Irish – 100/1

Newcastle Falcons – 150/1

First-round fixtures

All times BST

Bristol Bears v Saracens, Friday 17 September, kick-off 7.45pm

Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs, Saturday 18 September, kick-off 3pm

Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby, Saturday 18 September, kick-off 3pm

Worcester v London Irish, Saturday 18 September, kick-off 3pm

Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby, Saturday 18 September, kick-off 5pm

Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins, Sunday 19 September, kick-off 3pm

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