The countdown to Japan is well and truly on, with less than 20 days to go until the first game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
England will travel to the Land of the Rising Sun later this year with high hopes of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy for a second time in what many are expecting to be the most open World Cup in a generation.
With the opening match of the tournament scheduled to take place on Friday, September 20, the competition is set to have inevitable ramifications on the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership and the English domestic season.
Last year saw one of the most exciting campaigns in recent memory and the disruption of an autumn World Cup means another unpredictable season is in store.
Defending champions Saracens will be contributing as many as 15 players to international squads around the world meaning the Premiership landscape could take on a very unfamiliar hue this year.
With that mind, here's everything you need to know about the new season so you need not miss a single minute of action as Premiership rugby returns exclusively to BT Sport screens.
When does the English rugby season start?
Unlike previous years, the curtain raiser to the English domestic season will not be a Premiership game.
Bristol Bears and Bath got the 2018/19 season under way on August 31 last year, but this season's Premiership opener will be significantly later on account of the start of the Rugby World Cup.
This year the new campaign will kick off on Friday 18 October at Ashton Gate with Bristol Bears taking on Bath Rugby, live on BT Sport.
The West Country derby is part of a compelling first round of Premiership on the same weekend as the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Japan.
With so many Premiership stars set to be away in Japan on international duty, the domestic season will instead begin with the commencement of the 2019/20 Premiership Rugby Cup.
The new cup format was introduced at the start of last season, replacing the previous iteration of the competition, the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Designed to give young up and coming players a chance at playing first-team rugby, Northampton Saints will be hoping to defend their crown after beating Saracens at Franklin's Gardens to lift the inaugral trophy.
“The Cup has been a highly successful competition in recent years in helping develop the best new Premiership and England players, in front of big crowds and TV audiences,” said Premiership Rugby Chief Executive, Mark McCafferty.
“The pathway for young players is now clear linking the Under-18s League, the Premiership Rugby Shield and now the Premiership Rugby Cup into one strong route towards Gallagher Premiership Rugby, European competitions and Test matches.
“This focus on new playing and coaching talent will continue in the new Cup format with young players and coaches experiencing the challenge of bigger crowds and TV exposure."
When does the Premiership season start?
In plans announced by the RFU and RPA in accordance with the World Rugby's new global calendar, normal season start dates have been pushed back.
The first round of the Premiership will take place between the 18th and 20th of October.
However leading international stars like Billy Vunipola, Owen Farrell, Taulupe Faletau and Stuart Hogg will still be unavailable for club selection as the opening weekend falls on the same weekend of the World Cup quarter-finals in Japan.
When is the 2020 Premiership final?
Saracens lifted the trophy for a fourth time in five years with a come-from-behind victory over Exeter Chiefs earlier this summer.
The two juggernauts of English rugby have contested three of the last four Premiership finals at Twickenham and both sides will take some stopping from making it four in five.
The late start to the new season means that next year's showpiece event will take place on Saturday June 20, nearly three weeks after last season's final date.
BT Sport's 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership fixtures
|18/10/2019||Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby||19.45|
|19/10/2019||Saracens v Northampton Saints||15.00|
|20/10/2019||Wasps v London Irish||15.00|
|25/10/2019||Bath Rugby v Exeter Chiefs||19.45|
|26/10/2019||Gloucester Rugby v Wasps||15.00|
|27/10/2019||Leicester Tigers v Saracens||15.00|
|01/11/2019||Northampton Saints v Harlequins||19.45|
|02/11/2019||Leicester Tigers v Gloucester Rugby||15.00|
|03/11/2019||Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs||15.00|
|08/11/2019||Sale Sharks v Wasps||19.45|
|09/11/2019||Gloucester Rugby v Saracens||15.00|
|10/11/2019||Exeter Chiefs v Bristol Bears||15.00|
|29/11/2019||Bath Rugby v Saracens||19.45|
|30/11/2019||Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers||15.00|
|01/12/2019||Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby||15.00|
|20/12/2019||Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors||19.45|
|21/12/2019||Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs||15.00|
|22/12/2019||London Irish v Bath Rugby||15.00|
|27/12/2019||Bristol Bears v Wasps||19.45|
|28/12/2019||Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby||14.00|
|28/12/2019||Harlequins v Leicester Tigers||16.30|
|29/12/2019||Exeter Chiefs v Saracens||15.00|
|03/01/2020||Sale Sharks v Harlequins||19.45|
|04/01/2020||Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby||15.00|
|05/01/2020||Wasps v Northampton Saints||15.00|
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