Gallagher Premiership Rugby, the top flight rugby union completion in England, has officially launched with its first slate of fixtures living up to the hype.
The first game of the new season saw local rivals Bristol and Bath lock horns at Ashton Gate in a closely fought contest.
Newly promoted Bristol ran out 17-10 winners thanks to a try from Alapati Leuia and four penalties from the boot of Ian Madigan.
The Gallagher Premiership Rugby newcomers became the third promoted side to win their opening fixture in the last four seasons and will buoy the side as they face defending champions Saracens next week.
Saracens got their title defence off to a winning start with a 32-21 win over Newcastle Falcons.
A brace of tries from Alex Lewington, alongside scores from Nick Tompkins and Jamie George, saw the defending champions home despite two tries from Newcastle’s’ Mark Wilson.
The loss means Newcastle have now lost 20 straight games against Sarries.
In the tightest tie of the round, Wasps managed a one-point win over Worcester.
Down 13-6 at half time, Wasps managed to fight back and took the win 21-20 thanks to a late Billy Searle penalty. Worcester had a chance to nick the game but Duncan Weir steered his last second drop goal wide.
At the other end of the spectrum, Exeter and Harlequins ran out comfortable winners against Leicester and Sale respectively.
Exeter ran over six times to take a bonus point victory of Leicester, as last season’s beaten finalists got off to a near perfect start.
Harlequins had to fight for their win against Sale, trailing 20-17 just before half-time, but dominated the second period to run out comfortable winners.
All eyes were on fly-half Danny Cipriani as he made his Gloucester debut against Northampton Saints. The England international did not disappoint with a commanding performance to see his side home 27-16.
“Premiership Rugby’s reputation for professionalism, team-work and winning and with its strong ties to the local community, aligns with our own values and culture at Gallagher,” Chris Mead, Global CMO of Gallagher said.