Wanderers begin title defence with trip to Tigers

The Wanderers claimed A League glory last season (picture: Dave Ikin)
The Wanderers claimed A League glory last season (picture: Dave Ikin)

The Wanderers will begin the defence of their Premiership Rugby Shield crown with a trip to local rivals Leicester Tigers.

The Saints second string have won the title in what was previously called the Prem Rugby A League in the past two seasons.

And their bid to make it three in a row will begin at Welford Road on Monday, September 3 (kick-off 7.45pm).

This year’s competition consists of two conferences of six teams, with the Wanderers drawn in the North Pool alongside Tigers, Sale Jets, Wasps, Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Cavaliers.

All sides in the pool will play each other home and away throughout the season, before the semi-finals and final of the competition are contested in May 2019.

And academy head coach Mark Hopley is confident Northampton’s strong heritage in the competition can continue this term.

“You never know how you will get on until you get playing in the competition,” Hopley said. “But traditionally we have been a strong side at getting players through to the first team off the back of these matches.

“This competition gives our younger players the experience to be playing at a high standard in a major championship.

"We have always taken this competition seriously and we want to win the Shield again.

“With a younger side than last year, the Shield is a perfect place for them to come in. They are going to learn from the matches.

"We hope it will allow us to get them into the first team in the long term.”

Wanderers fixtures 2018/19 (all games kick off at 7.45pm)

Monday, September 3: Leicester Tigers (a)

Monday, September 10: Sale Jets (a)

Monday, September 24: Wasps (h)

Monday, October 1: Newcastle Falcons (a)

Monday, December 17: Worcester Warriors (h)

Monday, December 24: Sale Jets (h)

Monday, December 31: Wasps (a)

Monday, April 1: Worcester Warriors (a)

Monday, April 8: Newcastle Falcons (h)

Monday, April 22: Leicester Tigers (h)

Monday, May 6: Semi-finals

Monday, May 13: Final