Unlike this seasons French Championship favourites Agen last year, Stade Francais are going flat out to win this season's Parker Pen Challenge Cup as one way of ensuring Heineken Cup qualification for next year.
"We want to get back into the main competition as quickly as possible. There are two routes for us; either this one if we win it, or by finishing in the top six of the French Championships," said Stade's English born coach Nick Mallet.
"We are going to give it a bash on both fronts. I have been quite fortunate in having a squad of 32 players, all of whom are capable of playing at a high level, and by making a few changes every week I hope to keep the guys fresh and on form as it is going to be quite tough."
Mallett acknowledged the fact that Stade had been fortunate to have won by such a big margin in the first leg at the Stoop (26-0, 7th December 2002), and although the result of the tie was never in doubt he expected a much tougher contest in the second leg in Paris, and wasn't disappointed.
"It was a very tough game to try and prepare these guys for, because the French tend to be very confident if they have already won 26-0. Everyone had understood that it wasn't a fair reflection of the game over there, 26 points, we were flattered by that score. 16-12 or something like that was a fairer reflection, so I knew that it was going to be much tougher over here," confided the former South African boss.
"I tried to keep them focussed by making six or seven changes, and I am aided by that because I have such a big squad. I managed to get Fabien Galthie back and I changed the front row completely and brought in another flanker and changed the centre so I made a few changes to try and keep the guys focussed."
"It was a tough game today. It was a stop-start game played in difficult conditions."
Paul Burke, who returned to the NEC Harlequins line-up after missing the first leg, helped to orchestrate a far better performance from the visitors, kicking all his side's points and generally asking a number of questions of the Stade defence.
However, the game could best be summed up as a tale of two bounces. French international skipper Fabien Galthie's chip over the back of the Quins defence bounced up kindly for winger Thomas Lombard to go over for a try that put the home side in front.
Whilst Scott Bemand, trying to do the same for his winger Matt Moore, saw the bounce fall unkindly for the Quins boys.
"The first half tonight was a tale of two bounces really, and we probably should have gone in at half-time level," said Quins coach Mark Evans.
"But they pushed one into the corner and it reared up and he went over and Dominguez converted it and on our one we pushed it. Matt Moore was on his own and it bounced off and went into touch."
"That's a 14 point turn around and if neither or both had been scored rather than one then you are going into half-time level and that would have probably been a good reflection of the first half if we had gone in level."
"We went in ten points down but got back to 16-12, hadn't done very much but got two penalties and then Ace (Tiatia) gave away a stupid penalty coming in from the side of a ruck and they got points again."
"The last 20 minutes they were just a much better side than us, but if we had come here and lost 29-12 in the first leg; 17 points would be a lot to pull back at the Stoop," he continued admiringly.
"I am impressed with them. They are very physical and such a huge team, physically very big and they get over the gain line very efficiently. They clear their half, never mind their twenty-two, very well and you've got to play a pretty error free game against them if you want to come away with anything."
"I can see occasionally that they lack a little bit of ambition but they won't lose many and the two leg format suits them."
"They look to me like a very top French side, not even an Heineken Cup side, playing in the Parker Pen and they have got to be favourites to win it."
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.