Harlequins and Leicester Tigers are two wounded beasts following last weekend’s defeats and Luke Wallace believes it will come down to who races out of the traps fastest under the Friday night lights.
Both sides looked firm top-four candidates after a bright start to the season in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but 2016 has been a decidedly mixed bag so far.
Leicester lost at Newcastle Falcons on Saturday following a home defeat to Sale Sharks, while Harlequins have now gone on a run of three Aviva Premiership Rugby games without a win.
But Harlequins have not lost two games in a row at the Stoop since September 2013, and Wallace insists they can ill-afford a sluggish start – after conceding a try against Gloucester Rugby within three minutes last week.
“You will see two motivated teams out there and I think the one who works the hardest for the first ten minutes will go on to win the game,” he said. “I think if you can hit them hard, you can put a seed of doubt into their minds and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.
“We’ve got to get back on the horse for our remaining games, and it’d be especially good to beat Leicester after the first game – they only beat us by three points and it was a difficult one to take.”
Indeed, Leicester were victorious 22-19 when the two clubs met at Welford Road in Round Two, though have not achieved a season's double over the Londoners since 2010/11.
Tigers have also lost on their last four visits to the Stoop in all tournaments, and fit-again lock Ed Slater admits this week’s fixture calls for grit and determination.
"We need to have some real character because the Stoop is always a difficult place to go and with what has happened for Harlequins in the last few weeks as well, they will also be desperate to win the game,” he said.
"There's no difference to how we will approach the game, it's all about performance and also attitude. We need to approach the game with the right focus, it will be a big test and we need to turn up.”
Twickenham Stoop, 7.45pm – Live on BT Sport
Referee: J P Doyle (106th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Wayne Falla. TMO: Sean Davey.