Worcester Warriors to kick off next season at title rivals Bristol

Ashton Gate, home of Bristol City Football Club since 1904
Ashton Gate, home of Bristol City Football Club since 1904, has a modern-day capacity of 21,500

Dean Ryan's Worcester will face his former club Bristol on the opening weekend of the new Championship season in early September.

And the Warriors' first home game will be against Midlands rivals Moseley.

"With our first home game of the season throwing up a derby we'll be welcoming supporters, new and old, from across the region to Sixways," said interim chief executive Anthony Glossop.

"The fixture list hands us exciting challenges at key times," he added.

"Not least our matches with Bristol, who share our ambition of winning promotion next season."

The meeting with last season's Championship play-off runners-up, on the weekend of 5/6/7 September, will be Bristol's first competitive game at Ashton Gate since the 120-year-old home of Bristol City also became the rugby club's permanent home this summer.

Andy Robinson's side are then due to travel to Sixways for the return on the final day of the regular season on Saturday, 25 April.

If Warriors secure a play-off place, the semi-finals will begin on the weekend beginning 8 May, the second leg to be played the following weekend.

The first and second legs of the Championship final are scheduled for the weeks commencing 11 May and 18 May respectively.

Apart from meeting Moseley in their first home game, Worcester have also been paired against their Midland rivals in the British & Irish Cup campaign.

Warriors and Moseley have been drawn in Pool 3 with Nottingham and Munster 'A', looking to ensure progress to the last eight by finishing top of the group (the three best runners-up also make it the knockout stage).

The six pool games have been split into two batches on three consecutive weekends - in October, then again in late November and early December

Ryan's relegated Warriors, who have brought in 17 new players for next season, are already back in training.

They returned to start their pre-season programme last week, prior to setting off for a 10-day training camp in Portugal - with the noted exception of star player Chris Pennell.

The 27-year-old full-back has been on England's three-Test tour of New Zealand, making his international debut as a late substitute in the first Test.

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