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Preview: Harlequins v Wasps

Preview: Harlequins v Wasps

Elliot Daly wants Wasps to hit the ground running at Harlequins on Friday night as they push for a top-four spot in the upcoming Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign.

The Coventry side haven’t been the quickest of starters in recent years – with no victory to their name in round one since they downed Saracens at Twickenham in 2011.

After a long pre-season Wasps will be eager to get back to winning ways in the Aviva Premiership after they lost to Leicester and drew with London Irish in their final two matches of last season.

The two clubs clashed four times last term with the home team coming out on top on each league encounter while the away side was victorious in their European Champions Cup clashes.

While victory at Twickenham Stoop might have come on continental level for Wasps they have only won once there in the league since 2007.

But Daly is confident his side can start with a win and believes the match will be a showcase of exciting rugby.
“It has been a long pre-season but it has been good to get the boys in and get that extra bit of fitness up,” he said.

“It has added to the excitement in a way because it has been a long time to wait, usually the season would have started about a month ago so we’re eager to get going.

“The new boys have settled in really well, we don’t see them as new boys anymore because it feels like they have been here for a while so  we’re all geared up for the weekend.

“Quins play an expansive game and with a high tempo. They are similar to us in many ways so it should be an exciting game on Friday.

“We want to get better and improve every year. Last season we finished sixth so we’re aiming for fifth or even higher this time round and we’re looking forward to getting cracking.”

For Quins there is just one opening-day defeat on the opening weekend since 2006 – though that was a 2009 loss to Wasps in the London Double Header.

Like their opponents Quins didn’t have the best finish to last season and ended with a pair of defeats at home to Bath and away at Newcastle Falcons.

However skipper Nick Evans is looking forward to an expansive match in front of a packed house as the Stoop renews a familiar rivalry.

“It’s the local derby that’s no longer a local derby. From a fan’s point of view, it’s probably still a local derby, I think when Wasps come to town it’s a big deal, especially on a Friday night, it should be a full house with 15,000 cheering fans,” said Evans.

“It’ll be a great way to kick off the season for us, there’ll be two teams that like to play rugby.

“They’re very expansive, they’ve got some fantastic and dangerous players and a good, solid forward pack and when the ball gets a little bit loose both teams can hurt you from anyway.”

Twickenham Stoop, 7.45pm

Referee: Luke Pearce (40th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Simon McConnell. TMO: Sean Davey.

The 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season kicks off on 16 October. To see all of the fixtures click here.

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