Gallagher Premiership rugby finally returns this weekend after a stellar sporting summer in Britain – and it couldn’t be sooner.
The dramatic final between the Exeter Chiefs and the Harlequins in June was the perfect promotion for the high-caliber, high-octane drama that only comes with world-class rugby.
The Gallagher Premiership is finally back!
It was the Queens who went on to win the famous trophy for the first time since 2012, and there are a plethora of potential contenders to steal their crown this season.
The two of them open the title-hoping campaign on Friday night as the Bristol Bears and the Saracens meet at the lights of the Ashton Gate.
Here at TalkSPORT.com, we can’t wait to see the return of Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
Here are several reasons…
Sam Simmonds hopes to beat tryout record set last season
return of fans
The lack of fans in the last season as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country has undoubtedly affected the Premiership players.
Seeing 10,000 passionate fans filling Twickenham for the 2020/21 final in June lifted the Chiefs and their London counterparts as the game itself cracked with intensity.
Former England and Northampton half Paul Grayson briefly opened up and perfectly described what it means for fans to see their club back in the flesh.
He said: “I can’t think of my great days and my worst days as a professional athlete without remembering the role played by the crowd and supporters.
“The packed houses in Twickenham when we took center stage, the sea of 50,000 white shirts in Sydney when we won the World Cup.
10,000 fans watched the Premiership final in June
“The thought of times like these gives me goosebumps, just as I do, in a way, when I remember trips to places like Gloucester and Paris.
“Games where we weren’t always facing the best opposition, but where it was always a tough test in front of The Shed or surrounded on all sides in the solid cauldron of the Parc des Princes.
“Rugby remembered it all. The Premiership ground reverberated with the cries of players and coaches and nothing more.”
It’s been almost ten months since Cipriani played his last competitive game for Gloucester and the Gallagher Premiership missed the brilliant magician.
Now with his miss in the 2019 England World Cup, the 33-year-old is in a great place mentally and can’t wait to return to rugby.
There are some Top 10 in the country when Cipriani is in song and will be tasked with leading an exciting bath squad that includes Joe Cocanasiga, Anthony Watson and Tolupe Fallato.
As evidenced by Finn Russell’s magical moment against South Africa with the Lions, the importance of an aggressive opening half is becoming increasingly relevant in the modern game.
33-year-old returns to Premiership to add to his world-class ability at Bath
Marcus Smith and Quinn
It will come as no surprise to his biggest supporters to see Exeter’s tough defense cut to pieces by Marcus Smith in last season’s Twickenham final.
At just 22 years old, the Manila-born maverick was rewarded with a late call-up from Warren Gatland’s Lions squad after his incredible season at The Stoop this summer.
Smith will now be tasked with helping the Queens defend their Gallagher Premiership crown.
With new signing Huw Jones, Smith can once again wreak havoc on the Premiership defense and provide much-needed excitement to fans returning after a long absence.
The 22-year-old is the future of English rugby
mike brown newcastle
While Smith could very well be Harlequin and the future of England, Mike Brown is now enjoying new pastures with the Falcons.
After a trophy-rich career in London, Brown joined Toon this summer after a somewhat bitter end to his career with Quinn.
Suspended for the last few weeks of last season and therefore ruled out of the Premiership finals, the 36-year-old has been facing setbacks and proving critics wrong.
Dean Richards has been well recruited this summer and Brown’s Nathan Earle, Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Nick Easter will have plenty of familiar faces around them.
And even the coldest rugby fans will surely feel a frog in their throats this weekend watching Brown for the first time in his career against the club of his childhood.
Brown will wear Newcastle’s black and white this season
Return of the Saracens
With several signings returning from loan spells, the 2019 Gallagher Premiership champions have returned from the championship and are ready to reclaim their crown.
With no European exploits to distract them this season, their only goal will be to reclaim their crown and they will certainly have the team to do so.
Owen Farrell was mostly confined to cameo roles during his Lions service this summer, so he will undoubtedly return afresh and set to lead Maro Etoje, Elliot Daly and Billy Vunipola again.
And after a year-long absence with Nick Tompkins, Max Malins and Ben Earl, Sarri is definitely one to watch.
Mark McCall’s men want to make an immediate impact in the Premiership
Duhan van der Merwe
At a height of 6 feet 4 inches and weighing 105 kg, van der Merwe is a dynamite ball carrier and the excitement of the fans is guaranteed.
After a strong Six Nations campaign, Gatland handed the South African-born winger to the Lions tour this summer.
The 26-year-old is the type of player who creates fear in opponents and excitement among fans with his straight play and his new Warriors teammates will try to deliver the ball to him as regularly as possible.
Jonathan Thomas is one of the smartest and most attractive youth coaches in rugby and this season he can afford to be as experimental and exuberant as he can without relegation.
The former Edinburgh winger will definitely be a fan favorite in no time
The 2021/21 Gallagher Premiership begins later this week. Watch it live exclusively on BT Sport or follow it on PremiershipRugby.com.
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