NEWCASTLE FALCONS could hardly have asked for a tougher start to the new Aviva Premiership season after the release of the fixture list revealed an opening-day trip to Leicester Tigers.
Falcons will travel to Welford Road on Saturday, September 6 looking for their first win on the ground since their title-winning season of 1998.
Dean Richards’ side open their home campaign with the visit of London Irish on September 14, and seven of the club’s 11 Premiership home games are provisionally scheduled for a Sunday afternoon.
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With three of Falcons’ first five matches seeing them entertain London Irish, Northampton and Exeter, the club’s survival prospects could hinge on them being able to stage a repeat of last season’s strong start, when some early victories effectively ensured they finished ahead of Worcester.
Saracens will be the visitors to Tyneside on the ever-popular fixture between Christmas and New Year, which this year is scheduled for December 27.
A trip to Franklin’s Gardens to face Northampton kicks off 2015, with Newcastle ending the season with a home game against Harlequins on May 16.
“It is always an exciting day when the fixtures are released,” said director of rugby Dean Richards. “The realisation that the start of the season is not a million miles away starts to kick in for the players, coaches and off-field staff.
“Leicester away is obviously a very tough opener for us, but every game in this league will be tough week in, week out, and we are certainly up for the challenge, keen to improve considerably on last season.”
NEWCASTLE FALCONS 2014-15 FIXTURES:
Sat Sep 6 Leicester Tigers (a)
Sun Sep 14 London Irish (h)
Sun Sep 21 Northampton Saints (h)
Sun Sep 28 Wasps (a)
Sun Oct 5 Exeter Chiefs (h)
Sat Oct 11 London Welsh (a)
Sat Nov 15 Bath (a)
Fri Nov 21 Gloucester (h)
Sun Nov 30 Sale Sharks (h)
Sat Dec 20 Harlequins (a)
Sat Dec 27 Saracens (h)
Sat Jan 3 Northampton Saints (a)
Sun Jan 11 London Welsh (h)
Sat Feb 14 Exeter Chiefs (a)
Fri Feb 20 Wasps (h)
Sat Feb 28 Saracens (a)
Sun Mar 8 Leicester Tigers (h)
Sat Mar 28 London Irish (a)
Sun Apr 12 Bath (h)
Sat Apr 25 Gloucester (a)
Sat May 9 Sale Sharks (a)
Sat May 16 Harlequins (h)