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Promoted Newcastle to kick off 2020-21 Premiership campaign at Bath

Promoted Newcastle to kick off 2020-21 Premiership campaign at Bath
© Reuters
The new term in English rugby's top flight will begin on November 20, just 27 days after the 2019-20 champions are decided.

Newcastle will return to the Gallagher Premiership in November with an away game against Bath.

Fixtures for the 2020-21 league season have been announced by Premiership Rugby, with the new campaign kicking off on November 20.

Harlequins and Exeter will launch it at the Twickenham Stoop just 27 days after the 2019-20 champions are decided.

The current campaign, halted for five months because of the coronavirus pandemic, still has a full round of regular-season games left, plus play-offs and the final.

Newcastle, promoted as Championship winners, will replace Saracens in English rugby's top flight. The Falcons have not played a league game since beating Bedford on March 13.

They have home and away pre-season friendlies scheduled against Ealing Trailfinders for early November, then will visit Bath on November 21, followed by a Kingston Park appointment with Sale six days later.

Eight Premiership rounds will take place on international weekends, starting with three during the Autumn Nations Cup, and continuing throughout all five of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations weekends in February and March.

Current restrictions on fans attending matches mean that games are set to continue behind closed doors.

The Premiership season concludes on June 26 – a day before the British and Irish Lions' scheduled South Africa tour departure – and includes nine successive rounds between January 29 and March 28.

Sale Sharks v Harlequins – Gallagher Premiership Cup – Final – AJ Bell Stadium
Sale beat Harlequins in the rearranged 2020 Premiership Rugby Cup final last Monday (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Premiership Rugby Cup, meanwhile, will be staged as a midweek competition next term, starting after the Six Nations.

Other fixtures on the league's opening weekend see Sale hosting Northampton, Leicester entertaining Gloucester, London Irish visiting Worcester and Wasps tackling Bristol.

And Irish will play their first Premiership fixture at Brentford Community Stadium, the new 17,250-capacity venue they share with Brentford Football Club, against Leicester on November 29.

A packed programme on Boxing Day, meanwhile, sees games at Bath, Harlequins, Newcastle, Exeter and Northampton, with the Falcons also in action on New Year's Day when they visit Bristol.

For a full list of fixtures see www.premiershiprugby.com/fixtures

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