Saracens and Harlequins come into this Saturday’s clash at the Twickenham Stoop at opposite ends of the form table but fly-half Tim Swiel insists Quins are champing at the bit to get a crack at the champions.
Sarries, Aviva Premiership Rugby and Euroepan Champions Cup double winners last season, come into Saturday’s London derby on the back of 13 successive wins in all competitions.
Quins meanwhile stuttered to victory over Bristol Rugby on the opening weekend but have since lost back-to-back games against Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs.
But buoyed by their victory in this corresponding fixture last season and the chance to impress their home fans for the first time this season, Swiel insists his side are far from intimidated.
“Saracens are coming in off winning the double so obviously we know what a good team they are,” said the 23-year-old fly-half.
“But if we can emulate the performance at home from last year and go out there firing then you never know which way the ball will bounce.
“We are coming off two losses so we need something to change that around and a big derby in front of our home fans could be exactly what we need and give us some confidence.
“Obviously last year we started really quickly and slowed down at the end of the season.
“This season we have not started the way we would have liked but we need to get everything sorted and playing a team like Saracens is the best way to do it.
“It’s always good to play at the Stoop – we haven’t done that this year yet and I know the fans are excited.”
Swiel spent much of last season stepping in at full-back for Quins but this campaign is in the No.10 shirt since the injury to former All Black Nick Evans.
And the English-born, South African-bred star admits he is loving the chance to run the show for Quins with a new playing style under director of rugby John Kingston.
“Last year I played a bit more at full-back so to be back in the No.10 role is quite nice,” he added.
“To have someone like Nick (Evans) in training is great – last week he gave me advice right up to the minute before the game, wishing me luck and telling me to go out there and enjoy it.
“There have been a few changes – John (Kingston) has been great since he has taken over. He tells you where you stand and with Nick Easter and Graham Rowntree as well – everyone is really enjoying working with them.
“We have had to adapt this year, we are still looking to play with tempo but also to play sensibly, getting ourselves in the right areas – we have been working very hard in training so now we need to bring it to matches.
“When you don’t get game time you cannot think about it too much – you have to keep working hard and take the opportunity when it comes with both hands.
“I am excited to get my chance with such a great bunch of lads and Saturday will be a big game.”