The new Aviva Premiership Rugby and Anglo-Welsh Cup seasons were launched in grand style at Twickenham Stadium today in front of more than 200 members of the media.
Just eight days before Exeter Chiefs kick off the defence of their Aviva Premiership Rugby title at Kingsholm, Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter spoke of the size of the task ahead to complete back-to-back wins.
Last season was a record-breaking Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with significant rises in both tries scored and points registered on the field while off the pitch attendances were up by 11% and there were higher live TV viewing figures on BT Sport.
BT Sport opens the 2017-18 campaign with four live matches next weekend including the London Double Header at Twickenham Stadium.
This year Premiership Rugby celebrates its 21st season with matches being screened live on terrestrial television on Channel 5 while the tournament’s weekly highlights programme will on Channel 5 every Sunday at 8pm.
Baxter said: “I think everyone at the club is genuinely excited about starting the new season. What we achieved last season was fantastic and the culmination of a lot of hard work put in throughout the season, but now we have to start all over again and prepare ourselves for another big challenge ahead. The scary thing, when you look at the table now, is that everyone is back on zero points and you have it all to do again.
“We’ve talked about learning lessons from last season, but at the same time we have challenged the players in different ways.
“The biggest thing we’ve tried to challenge the guys on is a change of intensity during sessions, but that’s more to try and push our game on in a global sense, rather than making any major technical changes.
“Yes, we’ve made one or two technical changes and worked on the odd tactic here and there, but I guess our main focus has been more on building on our strengths and turning them into super strengths because the truth is we won a lot of games last season, particularly when we really concentrated on ourselves and what we do well.
“As I’ve said before, we want to be playing at the top end of our capabilities and the guys I will feel most comfortable with heading into the new season will be the guys who are ready to play at the high end of both their physical and mental capabilities.”
London Irish are back in Aviva Premiership Rugby and start their season at Twickenham Stadium next Saturday at the now iconic London Double Header.
Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy said: “Everyone at London Irish is excited to be back in the Aviva Premiership and we are really looking forward to the London Double Header against Harlequins at Twickenham on the opening weekend.
“The London Double Header is the perfect way for us to kick-off the new season and it promises to be a fantastic occasion for our supporters. It will also be great to have Aviva Premiership Rugby back at the Madejski Stadium when we take on Northampton Saints in Round 4 of the competition.
“We’ve strengthened the squad with 11 new signings this summer, with some real experience joining the club and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can bring to the team.”
Read more at http://www.premiershiprugby.com/2017-2018/rob-baxter-nick-kennedy-welcome-another-compelling-season-aviva-premiership-rugby/#HVkwegbkKUm2xOSb.99