NEC Harlequins are one of a number of Zurich Premiership clubs playing French opposition in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup this weekend, and are eagerly awaiting their second round opponents Stade Francais, who were beaten Heineken Cup finalists two seasons ago.
Now led by the former Springbok coach Nick Mallett, Stade will come to the Stoop looking to do well in the first leg tie, although their hopes have been dealt a blow with the withdrawal of French national captain and scrum half Fabien Galthie with an Achilles tendon injury that may also keep him out of next week's second leg game in Paris.
"We're looking forward to it - it's a great tie," said Quins Head Coach Mark Evans. "They've got some quality acts and I was hoping that Fabien Galthie would play because I just like watching him in action, but they are a really good side, and I am looking forward to linking up with Nick Mallett again, who is a really nice guy and always interesting company."
Stade come to the Stoop well placed in second spot in their Pool in the French Championship with six wins from nine matches, but with a number of their stars unavailable last week, could only draw 22-22 away to Mountaban, who are struggling near the foot of the table in the same Pool.
"The home leg is quite important as we will see how much of the myth still stands that the French clubs do not like to travel, but on the other side that's one contest but the big one is when we go over there," said Quins evergreen prop Jason Leonard, who Evans believes is in the form of his life at the moment.
"French clubs tend to up their intensity when they are playing at home and I think that it will be a good learning curve for some of our younger players to understand what it is like to play a side like that in their back yard," continued England's most capped player of all time.
"That will be the nearest thing that some of our players will find to an international, as it will be that hard and fast a game."
"But it is by no means impossible for us and after beating Saracens last week, we will go into Saturday's first leg with confidence, knowing that there is still stuff to work on, but most things are going in the right direction."
However, French international centre Stephane Glas, who was part of the Bourgoin side defeated home and away by Quins in 1997, is confident that Stade can pick-up the required result from this weekend's fixture.
"We want to qualify for the next round. We know that Harlequins have hardly lost at home this season, so it is going to be very difficult," said Glas.
"They are a very good team, but we won't be travelling to London to merely get a measure of their side - we will be looking to play our natural game and to win," continued Glas.
"We aren't doing badly in the French Championship, but we also want to go as far as possible in Europe. We are looking for two top notch performances against Harlequins so we can go through to the next round."
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.