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Saracens, Harlequins to meet at new Tottenham stadium

Reigning champions Saracens will play Northampton on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 season and will host the first rugby match at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in March. David Rogers/Getty Images

Champions Saracens will play Harlequins in the first rugby match at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Gallagher Premiership has confirmed with the release of its fixtures for the 2019-20 season.

The derby, to be played on Saturday March 28, will take place at the new 62,000 seat arena after previously being hosted at the London Stadium and Wembley.

The fixture list also confirms the Premiership season will begin later than usual due to the Rugby World Cup, with the first fixtures falling on the same weekend as the quarterfinals in Japan.

The opening weekend will see West Country rivals Bristol and Bath clash at Ashton Gate on Friday Oct. 18, in a repeat of the first fixture of the 2018-19 campaign.

Saracens will kick off the defence of their title a day later at home to Northampton Saints, while last year's beaten finalists Exeter Chiefs are at home to Harlequins.

Elsewhere on the opening weekend London Irish return to the top flight with a trip to Wasps, while Sale face Gloucester and Leicester Tigers travel to Worcester.

"There's no better place to play Harlequins than the big stadiums. I'm really looking forward to going down there," Saracens coach Alex Sanderson said of the match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. "The boys have been there, and they've said it's worth every penny of the billion pounds it cost.

"When we started using the bigger stadiums people said we wouldn't get any crowds, then we started getting 60,000 and 80,000. For these younger lads that are coming through, for some of them it'll be the biggest game they'll play ever."

A bumper weekend after Christmas will see Harlequins take on Leicester at Twickenham on Dec. 28 before last year's finalists Saracens and Exeter meet for the first time at Sandy Park on Dec. 29.

The Premiership final will take place on June 20 at Twickenham, nearly a month after the Heineken Cup Final in Marseille.