The 2013-14 Aviva Premiership season is almost upon us, with team's undergoing final preparations ahead of next week's big kick-off.
Newly-promoted Newcastle Falcons get the season underway when they host Bath at Kingston Park on Friday night.
The biggest clashes of the round one, though, will be at Twickenham on Saturday, as all four London clubs take part in the traditional double-header.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Gloucester host last season's underachievers Sale at Kingsholm, while title-challenging Northampton get their campaign underway at home to Exeter.
Reigning champions Leicester close the weekend's action in a Midlands derby against Worcester on Sunday afternoon.
Round One Fixtures and Predictions:
|Friday 6 September||19.45||Newcastle vs. Bath||BT Sport||Away win|
|Saturday 7 September||14.00||London Irish vs. Saracens||BT Sport||Away win|
|Saturday 7 September||15.00||Gloucester vs. Sale||Home win|
|Saturday 7 September||15.00||Northampton vs. Exeter||Home win|
|Saturday 7 September||16.30||London Wasps vs. Harlequins||BT Sport||Away win|
|Sunday 8 September||14.00||Leicester vs. Worcester||BT Sport||Home win|
Must see: Twickenham Double-Header
Two of the top three sides in last season's league campaign are in action in front of what will be another bumper Twickenham crowd in West London.
Kicking things off will be London Irish and Saracens, with the latter having reached the 2012/13 playoffs after finishing top of the Premiership table in the regular season.
Defeat to Northampton, though, saw Sarries fail to make the final and Mark McCall's men will surely be looking to make early amends for that loss as they head into the new campaign.
London Irish have been hit by the exit of some important players over the summer and will hope to see promising signs from their latest recruits. Saracens, though, should be strong enough to secure victory.
Wasps nominally host Harlequins in the second match of the afternoon—despite Quins' Stoop base being just a stone's throw away from Twickenham.
Harlequins made three big-name signings over the summer in Nick Kennedy, Paul Doran-Jones and Paul Sackey and will start the game as slight favourites. Wasps, though, have also been busy in the market, with Andy Goode the standout capture.
Expectations are high for the season ahead and, with the Premiership competitive from top to bottom, several sides have realistic ambitions of reaching the end-of-season playoffs.
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