The highly anticipated Gallagher Premiership fixtures have just been released this morning: you can view the first six rounds here.
Gallagher announced as new title sponsors of Premiership Rugby
World-renowned Illinois-based insurance brokers Gallagher will be the new sponsors of English rugby union’s Premiership which kicks off 31st August, succeeding Aviva. Mark McCafferty, Premiership Rugby chief executive noted the expansion of Premiership Rugby, commenting that ‘it is fitting that we are now partnering with a global company with an equally strong presence in the UK’.
Ones to watch – keep a close eye on these promising players during the league
Bristol Bears – George Smith
This is a signing that epitomises the Bears’ ‘brave new era’ moving forwards into the Premiership this year. The Aussie flanker has a few impressive achievements to his name including being the youngest player ever to reach a century of Test caps for the Wallabies – before his 30th birthday.
Bath Rugby – Jamie Roberts
The 31-year-old Wales centre has made the switch from Harlequins and Todd Blackadder will be hoping that the two-time British & Irish Lion will enjoy a new lease of life in blue, black and white as he brings undoubted quality to Bath’s midfield options.
Up until he missed out on Wales’ squad for the Six Nations earlier this year, Roberts had made 45 consecutive appearances for his country in the championship, equalling the record set by Sir Gareth Edwards.
Hopeful of earning a call-up for the 2019 World Cup, Roberts will be looking to hit the ground running for Bath when the new season gets up and running.
Bath Rugby – Zach Mercer
A young player long tipped for big things, could 2018-19 prove a breakthrough year for Zach Mercer?
The 20-year-old No.8 ended last term picking up the Young Player of the Year award at the 2018 RPA Awards before going on to score a try on his England debut in a non-Test clash with the Barbarians at Twickenham.
The son of former New Zealand rugby league international Gary, Mercer made 12 appearances for Bath last term as he continues to develop under Todd Blackadder’s tutelage.
Few would bet against him reaching new heights in 2018-19.
Bristol Rugby: reborn as Bristol Bears
Bristol Rugby to rebrand as Bristol Bears ahead of Gallagher Premiership Rugby return
Bristol Rugby will return to the Gallagher Premiership next season under the new name of Bristol Bears. The news was announced after the club’s promotion back to the English top flight was confirmed April 7th. According to Bristol Bear’s owner Steve Landsdown, the rebranding was not ‘a knee-jerk decision’ but a ‘process that we have been exploring for a number of years’. Lansdown also added that he was ‘tired of hearing Bristol be referred to as a ‘sleeping giant’.