Harlequins travel to Kingsholm for their 2022 opener and their opponents Gloucester Rugby are in similarly excellent form, making this a fixture of real importance.
Quins, fresh from their 41-27 victory over Northampton Saints in Big Game 13 at Twickenham in Round 11, had immense success in 2021, rising up the table and eventually claiming their second Gallagher Premiership title with an incredible 40-38 win over Exeter Chiefs in June.
To start 2022 with such an important fixture at a hostile ground like Kingsholm before welcoming the Chiefs to the Stoop six days later is tough but is a challenge that Quins are relishing.
Adam Jones, Harlequins’ scrum coach said: “As a club we’ve obviously gone back to the Quins DNA of old over the last year or so, and Gloucester this weekend have probably done something similar.
“As a kid, I remember the Mike Teagues and Phil Vickerys of Gloucester. Tough West Country blokes who knew all about forward rugby. It certainly seems Gloucester have gone back a little bit to their DNA.
“Obviously they have a bit of pace in their team as well in the back three, but their maul has been outstanding.
“Having a second row as their head coach I guess you’ll know your onions in that area. It’s going to be tough, but we’ve got a pretty good maul defence so we’ll challenge them as much as we can.”
The weather on Sunday could well be similar to what Quins faced at Twickenham last week, with heavy downpours not affecting the natural game plan of the Premiership champions, who were able to run in six tries.
But that weather does not concern Jones as he now believes Quins are capable of playing the way they like to play in any weather conditions.
Jones continued: “It was pretty pleasing to see how well we went at Big Game in the wet weather.
“I could see some ex-players watching it, commenting on Twitter about how high-skill and fast-paced the game was and error wise, it wasn’t too bad, considering the weather.
“I thought that our physicality was brilliant, too. We carried hard and cleaned out well at the breakdown.
“We’re fairly happy with where we are at the moment, but what is probably better is we know we still have room to improve and grow as a team.
We’re in the middle of a pretty important run of games, so we’re pretty much fully focused on keeping this momentum going.”