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Saints handed home start for 2013/14 Aviva Premiership Rugby tilt

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Saints' second home fixture comes in Round 4 against Sale (Friday, September 27th, 7:45pm) while clashes with each of their top four rivals from 2012/13 occur even before the end of a blockbuster October - the short trip to Welford Road for the season's first East Midlands derby (Saturday, October 5th, 3:15pm) and Saracens' visit to the Gardens (Saturday, October 26th, 3:15pm) sandwiching Rounds 1 and 2 of the Heineken Cup that month to end a block Jim Mallinder branded "especially tough."

The Christmas-New Year will bring festivities to the Gardens with back-to-back action against Bath and Harlequins on the weekends of Saturday, December 29th and Saturday, January 4th, 2014 respectively.

And as the season reaches its conclusion, Saints entertain Leicester for the campaign's biggest clash in the final weekend of March, with Saracens (away), London Irish (home), Bath (away) and finally London Wasps on Saturday, May 10th, 2014 to wrap up at home.

With the battle for the top six places in Aviva Premiership Rugby contested as fiercely as ever in 2012/13, Saints director of rugby Mallinder is expecting a similarly challenging road as the Saints attempt to seal a fifth straight play-off place in England's premier club competition.

"As we well know there are no easy games in Aviva Premiership Rugby, though to play the five other top six sides from last season inside the first six fixtures is an especially tough start," Mallinder commented.

"Exeter are now established as genuine playoff contenders and will pose a sizeable threat first up, but we are keen make the best start possible at home and hopefully build some important momentum in front of a full Franklin's Gardens.

"The run in also looks particularly challenging, especially considering how close top four qualification was last season, but that is a long way off yet and we'll be fully focused on starting well.

"That is something we saw last season after winning our first five on the bounce and while it is a big ask to repeat that run, if we get our pre-season preparations right we have every confidence of making a positive start to 2013/14."

You can help make sure home advantage counts by guaranteeing your place at the Saints' opener with Exeter, not to mention every other regular season home game, by purchasing a 2013/14 Season Ticket now! Simply click here to book online or call01604 581000 to join the Gardens number.

Televsion fixtures have also been confirmed up to and including the Round 7 clash with Saracens. All fixtures from Round 8 onwards remain subject to change.

Round

Date

Opposition

Kick-off

Venue

On BT Sport?

1

Sat, Sep 7th

Exeter Chiefs

3pm

Franklin's Gardens

No

2

Fri, Sep 13th

Harlequins

7:45pm

Twickenham Stoop

Yes

3

Sat, Sep 21st

Gloucester

3:15pm

Kingsholm

Yes

4

Fri, Sep 27th

Sale Sharks

7:45pm

Franklin's Gardens

Yes

5

Sat, Oct 5th

Leicester Tigers

3:15pm

Welford Road

Yes

6

Sat, Oct 26th

Saracens

3:15pm

Franklin's Gardens

Yes

7

Sun, Nov 3rd

London Irish

2pm

Madejski Stadium

Yes

Round

Date

Opposition

Venue

8

Sat, Nov 23rd

Newcastle Falcons

Franklin's Gardens

9

Sat, Nov 30th

Worcester Warriors

Sixways

10

Sat, Dec 21st

London Wasps

Adams Park

11

Sat, Dec 28th

Bath

Franklin's Gardens

2014

12

Sat, Jan 4th

Harlequins

Franklin's Gardens

13

Sat, Feb 8th

Exeter Chiefs

Sandy Park

14

Sat, Feb 15th

Worcester Warriors

Franklin's Gardens

15

Sat, Feb 22nd

Newcastle Falcons

Kingston Park

16

Sat, Mar 1st

Gloucester

Franklin's Gardens

17

Sat, Mar 22nd

Sale Sharks

Salford City Stadium

18

Sat, Mar 29th

Leicester Tigers

Franklin's Gardens

19

Sat, Apr 12th

Saracens

Allianz Park

20

Sat, Apr 19th

London Irish

Franklin's Gardens

21

Sat, May 3rd

Bath

Recreation Ground

22

Sat, May 10th

London Wasps

Franklin's Gardens