Bristol Rugby are handed a tough test for starters
Bristol Rugby will open their 2012-13 RFU Championship season against one of their biggest rivals in the division.
Liam Middleton's men have been pencilled-in to play defending Championship champions London Welsh at the Memorial Stadium in their opening match – over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2.
However, the Exiles, who claimed the title with an aggregate win over Cornish Pirates last month, are awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the decision to deny them promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
Should they be successful in their bid to overturn the decision and take up residency at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium next season, then Newcastle Falcons would be relegated from the top tier of English rugby and would most likely take over the fixtures assigned to London Welsh.
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Following their opener, Bristol then travel to Yorkshire to meet Doncaster a week later, before playing host to Cornish Pirates in their third game.
All of the dates and times of club's home fixtures will be confirmed once it is known when and where Bristol Rovers will be playing at the Memorial Stadium.
Meanwhile, Bristol have announced their plans for pre-season, in which they will play two matches against French opposition.
Head coach Middleton takes his side across the Channel to face Top 14 side Agen on Friday, August 3 and PRO D2 outfit Narbonne on Monday, August 6 before making a trip to Cork where they will face Heineken Cup giants Munster at Musgrave Park on Friday, August 17.
The four-game pre-season programme ends with the traditional derby against Clifton at Cribbs Causeway on Thursday, August 23.
Pre-season fixtures: Friday, August 3 (Stade Armandie) – Agen (7pm); Monday, August 6 (Parc des Sports Et de l'Amitié) – Narbonne (7pm); Friday, August 17 (Musgrave Park) – Munster (7pm); Thursday, August 23 (Cribbs Causeway) – Clifton RFC (KO TBC).
2012/13 RFU Championship fixtures: Weekend of Saturday, September 1: London Welsh (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Sept 8: Doncaster (Castle Park); weekend of Sept 15: Cornish Pirates (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Sept 22: Leeds (Headingley); weekend of Sept 29: Moseley (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Oct 6: Rotherham (Clifton Lane); weekend of Oct 13: B&I Cup Round 1; weekend of Oct 20: B&I Cup Round 2; weekend of Oct 27: Bedford (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Nov 3: Nottingham (Meadow Lane); weekend of Nov 10: Jersey (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Nov 24: Plymouth (Brickfields); weekend of Dec 1: London Scottish (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Dec 8: B&I Cup Round 3; weekend of Dec 15: B&I Cup Round 4; weekend of Dec 22: Doncaster (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Jan 5: Cornish Pirates (Mennaye Field); weekend of Jan 12: B&I Cup Round 5; weekend of Jan 19: B&I Cup Round 6; weekend of Jan 26: Leeds (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Feb 9: Moseley (Billesley Common); weekend of Feb 16: Rotherham (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Mar 2: Bedford (Goldington Road); weekend of Mar 9: Nottingham (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Mar 23: Jersey (St Peter Ground); weekend of Mar 30: Plymouth (Memorial Stadium); weekend of Apr 6: B&I Cup quarter-final; weekend of Apr 13: London Scottish (Richmond Athletic Ground); weekend of Apr 20: London Welsh (Old Deer Park); weekend of Apr 27: B&I Cup semi-final; weekend of May 4: RFU Championship semi-final first leg; weekend of May 11: RFU Championship semi-final second leg; weekend of May 17: B&I Cup Final; weekend of May 23: RFU Championship final first leg; weekend of May 29: RFU Championship final second leg.