Worcester Warriors loosehead Ceri Jones is looking forward to sharing a drink with his former London Harlequins teammates on Friday evening, but not before helping his new side claim their first Aviva Premiership away win of the season at the Stoop.
The 35-year-old forward spent eight seasons with Quins before joining the Warriors in 2011, but any fond reminiscing will be put on hold – at least until after the game.
“It will be a special match for me as a former Quins player, I played so many games there so I’m really looking forward to going back,” said the twice-capped Welsh international.
“I had a lot of happy times and there’s a lot of special memories I have of playing at the Stoop and playing in a Quins jersey, so it’s going to be a special occasion for me, I imagine.
“I’ll meet a few of old faces after the game for a drink but the main focus now is as a Worcester player – I can’t afford to be too nostalgic until after the game.
“Quins are such a dangerous side, you wouldn’t be reigning champions and top of the Aviva Premiership if the opposite was true. “hey’ve got everything really – they have good, skilful runners and like to play that offloading game which can be so dangerous.”
Jones is all too aware of the threat the London club present, with league leaders Quins still smarting after last week’s 21-18 defeat at Bath. Harlequins have won their last nine games against the Warriors in all competitions, with Worcester’s last – and only Aviva Premiership – victory at the Stoop dating back to February 2005.
But Worcester go into the game on the back of a fantastic home win over Saracens that saw them restrict the 2011 champions to just one score in a tightly-fought 12-3 victory, ending a poor run of three defeats in five games.
And Quins lock George Robson believes the match will come down to a battle up front.
“I think the game will come down to the forwards, it is the same as it ever is, the forwards win the game and the backs decide by how many,” he said.
“They [Worcester] have some good ball carriers and aren't the side they used to be where they weren't able to get results away from home – they have been playing some good rugby.
“But it'll be good getting them at the Stoop, 'Fortress Stoop' we're calling it now and on a Friday night we're looking forward to it.
“We've got some lads coming in to bolster the front row and with the conditions as they are I don't think they'll be looking forward to facing us.”
Referee: Luke Pearce (9th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Ashley Rowden.
(Twickenham Stoop, 7.45pm)