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Premiership 2021-22: Saracens return as new season kicks off with new laws tested |  Rugby Union News


Sarries kicks off the 2021-22 season on Friday by facing the Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate, while defending champions Harlequins begin their campaign with a trip to Kingston Park to face Newcastle.

Last update: 09/14/21 11:18 am

The Saracens are back in the Premiership with their season starting on Friday

Saracens return to elite English rugby league, eye-catching trials and no relegation – welcome to the 2021-22 Gallagher Premiership season!

Add in a number of fascinating player arrivals and transfers across the board and it promises to be a hectic campaign.

The Saracens, relegated from the Premiership in 2020 following persistent salary cap overruns and fined over £ 5million, will play their first top domestic game in almost a year when they face off against Bristol at Ashton Gate on Friday.

Mark McCall’s men are back after an anticipated and emphatic campaign for the league title last season, while all of their big names – star performers such as Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly and Billy Vunipola – remain, with Max Malins, Nick Tompkins and Ben Earl, who took on one-season loans.

Premiership 2021-22: Saracens return as new season kicks off with new laws tested |  Rugby Union News

The Harlequins are the reigning Premiership champions

While it might take a while for them to get to grips with the rigors of Premiership rugby, a look at the bookmakers’ odds – the Saracens are title favorites with Exeter – says a lot about the expectations that lie ahead. accompany them.

This season’s elite will include 13 clubs, without relegation to the league.

Provided that the championship winners meet the relevant criteria, they will join this group for 2022-2023, forming a 14-team league that will continue the following year, although this season (2023-24) ends with a game of jump-off between the championship winners. and regardless of which club finishes low in the Premiership.

It remains to be seen whether a lack of relegation diminishes Premiership’s proceeds – critics and applause line up in equal measure – but across the table, there’s no doubt that the Saracens return improves that. which should be an exciting title race.

The league, meanwhile, will embrace some of World Rugby’s current global legal trials, highlighted by the 50:22 and the abandonment of the goal line.

Premiership 2021-22: Saracens return as new season kicks off with new laws tested |  Rugby Union News

Exeter’s Sam Simmonds was a key player for the Chiefs last season

The 50:22 law means that if a player kicks from inside their half of the field and the ball bounces before making contact inside the 22 opponents, the kicking team will throw in the next line-up. .

It is intended to create space via a tactical choice for players to let go of the defensive line in order to prevent their opponents from hitting for touch, thus reducing the impact of defensive line speed.

In the case of an abandonment at the goal line, if the ball is retained in the in-goal, there is contact from an attacker in the end zone or an offensive kick is nailed. on the ground by defenders in their own in-goal, then play is resumed with a surrender at the goal line anywhere along the goal line

The objective is to reduce the number of scrums, reward good defense, encourage counterattack and increase the rate of the ball in play.

There are also breakout tries, including players penalized if they target or drop their weight on players’ lower limbs in ruck relief situations.

Premiership 2021-22: Saracens return as new season kicks off with new laws tested |  Rugby Union News

Danny Cipriani is back in the mix for Bath

As for player movements, this has been calm compared to the past few years, although considerable anticipation will surround the arrival of opener Danny Cipriani to Bath, with Scotland international Adam Hastings filling the vacancy left by Cipriani in Gloucester and the Capture of Scotland by Worcester and the British and Irish Duo of Lions Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland.

Worcester has also signed England international scrum-half Willi Heinz from Gloucester, while No.9 Warriors star Francois Hougaard has moved to Wasps and Mike Brown is Newcastle’s new full-back after his long and successful stint with the Harlequins.

There are also some notable departures from the Premiership, led by Bath pair Zach Mercer (Montpellier) and Rhys Priestland (Cardiff), with Exeter Wales international mainstay Tomas Francis joining forwards Ospreys and Wasps Will Rowlands and Kieran Brookes liaising with Dragons and Toulon, respectively.

Premiership 2021-22: Saracens return as new season kicks off with new laws tested |  Rugby Union News

Marcus Smith in action for Quins

Particular attention will be focused on Quins’ title defense following their assault on silver last season with an exciting all-action mark orchestrated by playmaker Marcus Smith’s opening half.

The bookies only have Quins as their fifth favorite, but with much-loved New Zealander Tabai Matson now a key part of their coaching staff, it wouldn’t be surprising if they made another major title push alongside. regular contenders like Exeter and Bristol, with Saracens and Sale Sharks also very present.

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