It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the stress of Christmas day festivities out the way, what better way to wrap things up with a day’s entertainment at the home of rugby.
Over 80,000 fans are expected to be packed in to the Twickenham at 4:00pm on Saturday December 30 to watch Harlequins take on Northampton Saints in Big Game 10.
This year’s Big Game is being touted as the biggest and best yet; a fun-filled family day out, and with just two places separating the sides going in to proceedings, there will be no space for Christmas hangovers.
Last time out, Quins narrowly lost to Newcastle Falcons, whereas Saints suffered their 11th defeat in their last 12 at the hands of champions and leaders, Exeter Chiefs.
This season, Quins have yet to find the sort of form that got them in to last year’s automatic Champions Cup places, and they were sent out of that same competition in the snow earlier this month after a heavy home defeat to Ulster.
It is imperative they rediscover some of the form that saw them past Saracens at the start of the month, and put the agonising defeat to the Falcons out of their heads.
Quins cannot afford to get complacent in the face of their opponent’s recent poor fortunes; reeling from the sacking of Jim Mallinder and their worrying run of form, silencing 80,000 fans could be the exact remedy the Saints are after.
They will come in with little to lose, a point to prove and revitalised from Christmas spent with loved ones.
However, Quins have been here before, and they know what the Twickenham crowd will expect from them.
Knowing that 80,000 fans will be behind them come Saturday should give them a boost they need; full-bellies, surrounded by friends and family, supported by fans, they should be coming back for seconds.
Veteran open-side and 250-cap club man Chris Robshaw knows all about Christmas rugby at Twickenham; he is proud to be a mainstay in the fixture and is expecting a battle as always.
He said: “Big Game is always a brilliant occasion for everyone involved, whether that’s for the backroom staff, the people in the office, the players, the coaches and the fans.
“It’s a great day out first and foremost, featuring two great sides going hammer and tong and it’s become a benchmark of the Harlequins Christmas calendar.
“I was fortunate enough to play in the first Big Game where there were about 50,000 people, to now regularly selling out Twickenham and to see Twickenham in your club colours. It’s a great occasion to play in and to be around.”
Robshaw’s new Quins teammate, Francis Saili, will be part of his first Big Game and is relishing the chance to play in front of a capacity crowd at the iconic stadium.
He said: “To be a part of Big Game 10 will be a massive one. I’ve played at Twickenham before but not in front of a packed crowd so to be a part of that will actually be quite nice. To be able to slip on the jersey and be amongst everyone at the club will make it a big outing for us.”
If the gladiatorial showdown and Christmas merriment weren’t enough, British pop-rock band, Scouting for Girls will provide half-time entertainment in addition to a dazzling show of pyrotechnics.
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