Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks will come together in a Kings of the North event to launch the new domestic season in September.
With the start to the league campaign delayed by the hosting of rugby's World Cup in England, the three most northerly clubs in domestic top-flight competition will contest the new tournament on their respective home grounds.
Leicester Cathedral, in the news as the final resting place of King Richard III, hosted the Kings of the North tournament launch today in the company of the three clubs' directors of rugby - Richard Cockerill, Dean Richards and Steve Diamond - plus invited guests and rugby supporters.
Sale Sharks are still in the chase of a place in next season's European Champions Cup and director of rugby Steve Diamond said: "Club rugby is built on rivalries and we look forward to contesting the title of Kings of the North with Leicester and Newcastle. All three teams will be fine-tuning their work ahead of the start of the league season and there should be some good contests home and away."
Falcons boss Richards said: "As the most northerly club in top-flight rugby, the Falcons are delighted to be part of the Kings of the North event. I'm sure it will provide a high-profile curtain-raiser to the new season for all three clubs and we look forward to welcoming the teams and supporters from Sharks and the Tigers to Kingston Park."
Tigers are aiming for a place in the knockout stages of the Premiership for an 11th successive season and Cockerill said: "The start of the season is always an exciting part of the year for coaches, players and supporters. Everyone wants to get the season off to a good start and the Kings of the North event provides a perfect opportunity to get a run of games together ahead of kick-off in the league campaign."
A dedicated website at www.kingsofthenorth.net is live from today and will include match details, ticket advice and news updates. Or see the official websites of the three participating clubs.
The Kings of the North features six fixtures, with the clubs facing each other home and away, starting with the visit of Sale Sharks to Newcastle Falcons on the opening weekend of September and running up to Leicester's home game against the Sharks on the weekend of October 10, just one week ahead of kick-off in the new Aviva Premiership season.
Kings of the North Fixtures:
September 4/5/6: Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
September 11/12/13: Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers
September 18/19/20: Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons
September 25/26/27: Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers
October 2/3/4: Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons
October 9/10/11: Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
Admission to all our home fixtures in the Kings of the North event is included in Sale Sharks season tickets for 2015/16.