Harlequins will host Exeter Chiefs in Big Game 14 this Saturday, with a women’s and men’s double header taking place at Twickenham Stadium. Quins are currently eighth in the Gallagher Premiership, and view this as a must win fixture if they want to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Exeter Chiefs sit at fifth in the table, and are just four points ahead of Harlequins. A bonus point win, and favourable victories elsewhere in the Premiership, could see Quins back up to the fringes of the play-offs ahead of the run up to the end of the season. The returning Marcus Smith could be the difference to do just that for Harlequins this Saturday.
Harlequins Women have the tough task of tackling the league leaders. Exeter Chiefs Women are comfortably at the top of the Allianz Premier 15s table. With just one loss in twelve matches, the Chiefs are firmly ahead of the pack, having dominated this years’ competition.
Earlier this week Harlequins scrum half Danny Care discussed how important Big Game 14 is to the club, and their approach throughout the training week.
“Yeah, 100%. It’s something we talked about a fair bit this week, you know, this is our game, this is our club that decided to kind of be pioneers and, and break the mould and go do something special. We do think that our club is a bit of a pioneer for that, and we do things a little bit differently.” Danny said.
“So obviously, our 14th year of big game was obviously taken away from us with a train strikes at Christmas, but this still is, this still is the one that you want to play in. This is a this is a huge game. Hopefully it’d be close to 60,000 there on the weekend, and I think there’s still a few tickets available. People want to go and get them.
“But this is this an unbelievable occasion. Obviously, it’s a huge game for us personally with what’s going on the premiership but for the club’s, it means an awful lot to us. So everything in the training week this week is just a little bit more, and means a little bit more. We’ve got some players back this week who are chomping at the bit to play and it’s our biggest game of the season. So we can’t wait.”
A highlight of the day sees the Quins players take the short walk from the Stoop to Twickenham Stadium, surrounded by their fans in the famous quarters. The 36-year-old believes that the unique experience never gets old.
“Yeah, I think it’s an incredibly unique experience that only we get to do. No other club gets to do something like that. It is our second home we’d obviously like to play that a bit more often, to get into more finals, but every memory from the first one that I’ve ever done it doesn’t get boring let me put it that way.
“It’s an incredible feeling and our fans have been brilliant wherever we’ve been this year in the last few years. They’re following us and there thousands and it makes it all feel even more special when you can walk from your own home to Twickenham in a huge game so yeah, I can’t wait to see them all there this Saturday.”
Harlequins Head Coach Tabai Matson is excited to once again lead his side for the Big Game at Twickenham Stadium. Matson oversaw Big Game 13 in 2021, with Quins impressing with a 41-27 victory over Northampton Saints. Matson discussed his excitement to be returning to Twickenham once again.
“Well, firstly, I think the big game is such an amazing event and unique for this club. So for me, you know, last year being involved in my first ‘Big Game’, it was like, wow, this is a real spectacular. And I know, it’s moved and all of that, but we’re hoping for nearly 60,000 people at Twickenham, so it’s a really special event.
“The players are buzzing about the ‘Big Game’. So you know, that’s changed the energy of the week already. And of course, Exeter, you couldn’t probably have picked a better team to play in front of so many people. It was only a couple of years ago, we played them in a final there. So for a number of reasons, it’s a really critical week for us, and there’s some good energy leading into it,