Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Fixtures Announced for 2015/16

Last Friday Premiership Rugby revealed this season's fixtures and as we at the UltraSubMarines pride our selves on our fast breaking news service we bring you the news only 5 days late.

What we lack in punctuality though we make up for in occasional accidental wit and searing insight.

As has been well signed posted Premiership Rugby is starting late next season and the LV Cup has been scrapped, allegedly for one year only but we'll see if PRL actually let the RFU re-start the cup and what bastardised format they insist on.  

This means that there is a game every weekend for 25 weeks and you only get a rest if you are knocked out in Europe.  Player Welfare?  Nah after all that England flog them for three friendlies Down under in Australia for good measure.

Anyway the Premiership kicks off on 18th October and the first three weeks of the season clashes with the Rugby World Cup.  With Burt "Stuart" Lolcaster's men facing Wales and Australia its not exactly impossible that we will only be missing Marcos Ayerza and only from the first game.

Those three weeks see us away to London Irish, and at home to Harlequins then Wasps.  Irish away is a good test first up, really even with World Cup absences it should be won if we have designs on a home semi final.  Next we face Harlequins either without Brown, Marler and Robshaw or captain fantastic has seen England knocked out at the group stage, or by Samoa or Scotland in the quarters.  

Somehow I don't think England failing so badly will have a particularly positive effect on messers Brown, Marler and capitaine fantastique so either they're not there because Lolcaster's brave boys and bring Rugby home, what ho! Or they might as well not be there because of a shattered spirit after the humiliating humping by Uruguay.  

Old School Fixtures Grid

Wasps is another of those must win games.  With the new local bragging rights at stake, and on World Cup Final day, Tigers will surely be hoping to test out the new 26,000 capacity for this one with many staying on to watch the inevitable Samoa v New Zealand final.

The first week after the World Cup is a tricky away trip to Exeter before we break into Europe.

With the LV scrapped there are no "down" weeks for us next season, every week sees a Premiership or Champions Cup match.  After the first batch of European games we return to face Bath at home, Bath will face the same challenge but Worcester and Newcastle who book end the second set of Euro fixures have no such concern.

Worcester will know they have 3 weeks to recuperate after our game whilst Newcastle have 2 games to rest and rotate to peak for their trip to Welford Road, though they do face a trip to sunny Siberia at some point in the season.  Really both should still be wins.  

Moving into 2016 we face possibly a defining run of fixtures in January: Saracens (A), Northampton (H), 2 European fixtures then Gloucester at Kingsholm.  Gloucester have the same advantages that Worcester and Newcastle have regarding rest, though Gloucester will at least be targeting the Challenge Cup for silverware.

5 wins in January and we are surely in dream land having dealt blows to rivals both at home and abroad, 5 defeats is not impossible and could see major changes in the club.

A truly grueling season drives on straight through the 6 Nations.  Whether the England team is picked by Sir Lolcaster or England's newest coach Jim "'ll Fix it" Mallender remains to be seen but the Youngs brothers are sure to be called for all 7 weeks whilst the Italians will be available for Harlequins (A) and Exeter (H).

I feel we've been particularly unlucky with the fixture draw during the 6 Nations.  Sale, Irish and Exeter at home are all hugely dangerous to face with depleted resources whilst Newcastle, Quins and Wasps away are all games we'd be looking to win with a full squad.

Coming off the back of the difficult January we could claw back a lot of points here with backs to the wall wins, or equally drop 3 or more games where we'd have hoped to win.

The 6 Nations rounds off with Sarries at home that frankly I see as a loss.  You never know but let's just say if I'm a Tigers coach looking to kill time in a casino I don't care what odds they offer I'm keeping my four lots of £200 in my pocket.

The season starts to relent a bit with Sale (A) and Gloucester (H) both of which should see wins with the full side available.

Really April rests on Europe.  If we have a quarter final we could see three massive games in as many weeks as we have European Quarter then Saints (A) before a potential Semi.  Or we have a 2 week build up followed by 2 weeks of recuperation.

Worcester (H) finishes the home programme before going to Bath in May.  What could possibly go wrong there?

The final three fixtures could be relaxing and a chance to finish off a rival's title hopes, alternatively it could be where we make or break a play off charge.

I recognise there's a lot of fence sitting in this article but sue me.  I've no idea whether next year we'll see more of the Semi Final Tigers or more of the Ricoh Tigers.  So I've no idea if we'll be finishing a dismal 6th, another creditable 3rd or bursting into a home Semi Final.

Across the league Tigers have been unlucky to see 6 homes games in the 10 affected by international calls and two of their opponents after European adventures not face such stiff test themselves.  In such a tight and unpredictable league those factors may just be the deciders.

Date comp Oppo Clash
18/10/2015 P Irish (A) RWC QF
24/10/2015 P Harlequins (H) RWC SF
31/10/2015 P Wasps (H) RWC F
07/11/2015 P Exeter (A)
14/11/2015 EC Group Stage
21/11/2015 EC Group Stage
28/11/2015 P Bath (H)
05/12/2015 P Worcester (A)
12/12/2015 EC Group Stage
19/12/2015 EC Group Stage
26/12/2015 P Newcastle (H)
02/01/2016 P Saracens (A)
09/01/2016 P Northampton (H)
16/01/2016 EC Group Stage
23/01/2016 EC Group Stage
30/01/2016 P Gloucester (A)
06/02/2016 P Sale (H) 6N
14/02/2016 P Newcastle (A) 6N
20/02/2016 P Harlequins (A)
27/02/2016 P Irish (H) 6N
05/03/2016 P Exeter (H)
12/03/2016 P Wasps (A) 6N
19/03/2016 P Saracens (H) 6N
26/03/2016 P Sale (A)
02/04/2016 P Gloucester (H)
09/04/2016 EC Quarters
16/04/2016 P Northampton (A)
23/04/2016 EC Semi
30/04/2016 P Worcester (H)
07/05/2016 P Bath (A)
14/05/2016 EC Final
21/05/2016 P Semi
28/05/2016 P Final

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