This Saturday afternoon at The Stoop, NEC Harlequins face Brive in the Quarter Final 1st Leg of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup, in what is sure to be a very close and physical encounter.
Brive came through the second round having beaten fellow French team Castres, and are currently top of their Pool in the French league having lost just once in seven games. Brive came up from the French second division last season and so far this season have been very impressive, with a good scrummage and rolling maul, as well as a speedy and skillful set of backs. Led by the mercurial Alain Penaud, these two games will bring back some strong memories of NEC Harlequins' victory in Brive in the Quarter Final of this same competition three years ago.
For NEC Harlequins this is the first of three crucial games, the second leg next weekend in France and then a home league game to Saracens on 7 February.
For this game Head Coach Mark Evans has made nine changes to the team that beat Montauban so convincingly at The Stoop last Saturday. In come Ceri Jones, Tani Fuga, Jason Leonard, Ace Tiatia, Pat Sanderson, Andre Vos, Simon Keogh, Will Greenwood and Ugo Monye, with Mike Worsley, Laurent Gomez, Bill Davison, Roy Winters, Tony Diprose, Scott Bemand and Andy Dunne all starting on the bench.
Again with just Simon Miall and Josh Taumalolo unavailable due to injury, and both of these players will be back in full training within the next few weeks, it means that Quins have on the field a very strong selection as they look to progress into the Semi Finals of this competition which are due to be played over two legs in April.
On Tuesday evening NEC Harlequins face another tough test when they take on the Super 12 side Natal Sharks for the third year - KO 7.45pm at The Stoop
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.