Let the countdown begin...(71 days by the way)
After this morning's announcement that the Premiership season is set to resume on the 15th August, here's the three questions that will need to be answered when rugby makes its long-awaited return.
1. Can the Chiefs Reclaim their Crown?
Having narrowly lost to the Saracens in the last two finals, controversy has ignited between the two clubs after the Allianz side were found to have been in breach of the salary cap rules at the time.
Having won the title in 2017, Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has even suggested that the Sandy Park side should be retrospectively given the title for 2018 & '19 too.
Sitting pretty at the top of the table and with the bitter rivals out of the picture having been docked a massive 105 points, will poetic justice see the Chiefs reunited with their crown?
2. What Effect Will Empty Stadiums Have?
A slower game? Fewer home wins? More tries?
Judging by the evidence of the behind-closed-doors return of other sports, the unfamiliar conditions of playing behind closed doors are likely to have a significant effect on the pace and intensity of the games.
Perhaps it's a chance for the archetypal 'confidence player' such as Danny Ciprani (above) to shine or for teams with poor away form to prosper and recapture their early-season form and make a late surge for the title, which leads us nicely into question 3...
3. Can the Bears Rediscover Their Roar?
One of the stories of the season before the coronavirus-induced lockdown came from Ashton Gate.
After finishing a lowly 9th last season, the Bristol club spent heavily in luring Kiwi Charles Piutau to the West Country and started the season at a blistering pace. After a wobbly Christmas period, they re-found their form just before the postponement and should benefit more than most from the break.
Sitting in third in the league, if the Bears can re-discover their early-season form and benefit from the empty stadiums away from Ashton Gate, they should have a good chance of at least finishing amongst the play-off spots and who would bet against them rustling a few feathers if they get there?