London Irish scrum-half Scott Steele is relishing the prospect of taking on opposite number Danny Care this weekend.
The Exiles need two wins from their final two matches at least to overhaul Newcastle Falcons at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings.
But 22-year-old Steele is hoping the prospect of lining up against one of his idols in England international Danny Care can help him take his game to the next level.
And while he admits he will be keeping a close eye on Care at the Madejski Stadium, he will not allow himself to get distracted by the No.9 on Sunday.
“Danny Care is the start of everything for them,” he said. “He is the go-to man to get the tempo going for Harlequins with his tap-and-go’s and around the rucks.
“So he will be a big focus for us. He had a really good game last time we played Quins – which is no surprise really given the top player that he is.
“He’s a great pro to look up to. I grew up watching him and he was always very exciting to watch, scoring some great tries. You want to be a threat as a No.9; it’s something I have tried to add to my game this year and he is one of the best at that.
“My role does become a little bit more important when your opposite number is of that kind of calibre, but you don’t want to get too caught up in it as a lot of the time it won’t be my responsibility to look after what he’s doing.
“But I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out on him and relaying the message for the people around the ruck to do the same.
“I have big respect for him as a player, but I want to put him under pressure more than anything so he can’t play his usual game.”
London Irish have had two weeks to get over the disappointment of losing their do-or-die encounter at Newcastle Falcons, where they went down 13-6 at Kingston Park with Marcus Watson's try proving decisive.
And after some time away from rugby to catch up with their families, Steele is confident his side will be raring to fly out of the traps on Sunday.
He said: “It’s been good to get a break and some time away from rugby last week. Obviously it’s been a long old season even though we started late with games pretty much every week.
“All the boys could get away and catch up with their families and things, which especially after that game against Newcastle it was good to put rugby out of our minds.
“But that said we want to get stuck in and right a few wrongs this week, so everybody has come back keen and eager to perform.
“We’re just trying to keep a positive mindset and if we get a win on Sunday, which is our main focus, then it keeps it going and we give ourselves a chance by putting the pressure on Newcastle.
“At the moment we’re still playing for everything and just getting ourselves in the best possible shape to face Quins on Sunday.”
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