Harlequins’ Captain Danny Care admits he cannot wait to run out at Twickenham for the London Double Header next month, but it’s a return to rugby HQ in May that is top of the England man’s agenda.
Care will start his Aviva Premiership Rugby season against Bristol Rugby on 3 September; Quins’ fixture will follow on after Saracens play Worcester Warriors in the early game.
By their own admission Quins under-performed last season, failing to make the end-of-season play-offs after a stuttering campaign.
However with Conor O’Shea departing for Italy and John Kingston taking the top job, while long-serving back-row forward Nick Easter has called time on his career and has joined the coaching team, expect a refreshed Quins' outfit in the league this season.
“Twickenham is a home away from home for us with the amount of games we play there each season,” said Care. “But it’s the end of the season and the Aviva Premiership Final which we are looking to target.
“It would be nice to get to that again this year, everyone wants to be there and it’s getting more and more competitive.
“We know each team can beat anyone on their day, so we have to start with Bristol and move on from there.
“We know how good Bristol Rugby will be. We watched some of their games in the Championship last year, they are an Aviva Premiership quality team and it’s great that they’re back.
“They’ve got some stars in their team, some big players, and we look forward to coming up against them.”
Care is convinced that the London Double Header is the perfect way to kick-start the new season but has warned Quins against complacency as they prepare to tackle the Aviva Premiership’s newest club.
The Harlequins' scrum-half is used to running out in front of a packed Twickenham crowd for club and country, but Care revealed his first experience of seeing the atmosphere at a London Double Header in 2007 is still firmly at the front of his mind.
“The London Double Header is a fantastic way to start the season," added Care. “It’s a great advert for rugby and particularly club rugby in the country.
“It’s awesome to be able to kick off at Twickenham, a place we play at so often now and we’re really looking forward to playing a new team in Bristol.
“They’re a team who will bring a load of fans, we’re excited to see them back in the Aviva Premiership and hopefully it can be a great day for everyone.
“Twickenham will host four great teams with a huge amount of support, if we can get the stadium as full as we can then it promises to be a massive day.
“It’s the start of the season and everyone is excited, so to be able to go over to the home of rugby and watch two games for the price of one is simply unrivalled and unmatched.
“I can still remember the very first London Double Header I attended, I wasn’t playing but I was 23rd man for the day, and just watching it and seeing the support was an amazing feeling, and I think I’ve played in every other one since.
“It was my first glimpse of a crowd that size in a club game, bringing back the season with a bang, and for any youngster in the crowd the London Double Header is probably a huge inspiration for them wanting to get into club rugby.”
Start the Aviva Premiership Rugby Season in style with two games from £25 at Twickenham. Harlequins v Bristol Rugby and Saracens v Worcester Warriors in the London Double Header, 3 September. Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk