Premier Rugby yesterday announced the Guinness Premiership fixtures for the 2006/07 season. Visit http://www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk/4_27.php for all of Gloucester's Premiership fixtures.
On Saturday, September 2, Gloucester start the season with a west country derby against Bath. The season also begins with the traditional curtain raiser of the London Double Header at Twickenham. This year London Irish will play newly promoted NEC Harlequins and Saracens will take on London Wasps.
On Sunday, September 3rd, Northampton Saints play Newcastle Falcons at Franklins Gardens, a match that could see Carlos Spencer and Jonny Wilkinson going head to head, while across at Welford Road, Leicester Tigers will take on last season's Guinness Premiership Champions Sale Sharks.
The line up of round one matches, including the London Double Header at Twickenham, means a first round crowd of 100,000 could be achieved for the first time ever.
Premier Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty said, "Announcing the fixtures really gets the sense of anticipation building amongst our fans. All our clubs really want to build on the second season with Guinness and continue with the exciting rugby that characterised the end of last season. An opening round crowd of over 100,000 would be a great start to a season in which we hope to break attendance records yet again."
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).