Wednesday, 11th October 2017 @ 13:30
For the first time since the 2014/15 season, Harlequins will return to European Rugby's premier competition this Saturday in Round 1 of the Champions Cup.
Harlequins go in to Saturday's match following the 42-26 bonus point win over Sale Sharks and will look to hit the ground running in Round 1 of this season's competition.
Saturday's opponents La Rochelle finished top in the regular season of last year's Top 14 and currently stand fourth in this year's competition.
This will be the first meeting ever between the two clubs. La Rochelle are making their Champions Cup debut, becoming the 21st Top 14 side to participate in the tournament.
Harlequins have won seven of their last nine match against Top 14 opposition in the Champions Cup, losing only to ASM Clermont Auvergne (twice) in that run.
La Rochelle have faced Aviva Premiership opposition on 17 occasions in the Challenge Cup, winning just five of those matches (Drawn one, lost 11).
Speaking ahead of the match, club captain, James Horwill said: "It’s the first time that I have been in the Champions Cup, since I have been at the Club. I'm very excited, it was something I certainly wanted to do when coming over and playing in the Northern Hemisphere. To mix it with the best teams in Europe and we’re there doing that. So it’s an exciting time for the Club.
"La Rochelle played very well last year. They topped the Top 14 in the regular season. Obviously, they’re a big side and they have got a bit of pace out wide, so that’s going to be exciting for us."
Director of Rugby John Kingston added: "The Champions Cup is that step further. It’s like the Champions League in football, isn’t it? To test yourself against different opposition is a fantastic thing and spreading our wings around the whole of Europe is brilliant.
"La Rochelle are a big, strong side. We know that. Every time you play French opposition, you know you’re going to get a competitive game, so it wouldn’t matter who you’re playing, but we’re at home at The Stoop. To start at home, you can’t ask for more than that really."
Tickets for Harlequins' Champions Cup clash with La Rochelle are available to purchase online by clicking here or by calling the Ticket Office on 020 8410 6010. Harlequins' match against La Rochelle - alongside all home European pool matches - is included in a 2017/18 Harlequins membership.
Jamie Roberts discusses La Rochelle, Harlequins' backline and the physicality of the Champions Cup.