Rugby Union

Joe Marler looking forward to double header

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The new Aviva Premiership season kicks off this Saturday and on the opening day Twickenham will host a double header featuring London's best teams, as Harlequins captain Joe Marler is looking forward to another exciting opening weekend.

The 24-year-old recently was named as Harlequins captain after Chris Robshaw stepped down to focus on his England role and the 2015 World Cup in the summer, and the prop has already begun showing his dedication to the job.

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London rivalry

Speaking to the Aviva Premiership website, the prop understood the rivalry all four teams have for each other and can guarantee Harlequins will put up a good fight against a strengthened London Irish team.

"I love the Double Header because you're guaranteed a little rivalry and a little tastier game up against a London-based club," said Joe Marler.

"London Irish have got stronger, they've brought in a lot of players to add to their squad, guys like Tom Guest who we were unlucky to lose last season. The boys are raring to go but we've got to get some tough weeks out of the way first."

Harlequins will be taking on London Irish in the later kick-off after Saracens face Wasps.

Last season saw a compelling double header with Wasps just missing out on a victory after Andy Goode's penalty cannoned off the post in the final seconds with Wasps losing 16-15 to Harlequins; an awful but entertaining way to end an exciting day at Twickenham.

Saracens meanwhile hammered London Irish 42-20 with Owen Farrell converting six penalties for the win.

Harlequins

Marler went on to state how their opening match-up will be a challenge, but is confident his team can pull off a comfortable result to kick-off a promising season.

"It's always tough playing against them and often ugly so we'll be hoping for a little bit more flair and attacking rugby from both sides this year. It will be a good start to the season,"

"I am definitely hoping the scoreline will be a bit more comfortable than it has been the last few years."

The last time Connor O'Shea's men took on London Irish on the opening day was in 2011 and it was Quins who stole the win with a 29-24 victory.

But out of the five previous encounters between these two teams, Irish have won three picking up wins in 2004, '06 and '07.

Double Header

The double header has never disappointed; always given fans their money's worth and showcasing the perfect way to introduce a new rugby season.

It also gives players the chance of playing at Twickenham, the home of England, as the hallowed turf could deliver some great performances from young stars hoping to make a name for themselves in the coming months.

Based on the players at their disposal it may be an interesting win for Saracens against Wasps, with Owen Farrell having to play a key role.

But with Steve Borthwick retiring and Alistair Hargreaves being named as the new captain, it is up to Hargreaves to help Sarries bounce back from a disappointing 2014; having lost out in two cup finals.

Harlequins meanwhile can go into their late kick-off with a bit more confidence taking on a London Irish team who finished 10th in the Aviva Premiership last season, but for the Irish they have been busy in the transfer window taking in 11 players.

Quins' method this year was just about promoting their youth players into the senior team, a factor that could help their position for the next few seasons.

This years' double header will have the ambition and feeling of beating last years' incredible opening day, and with the players on display Saturday it could pan out into a fantastic and fierce match-up.

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Topics:
Harlequins
London Irish
Aviva Premiership
Saracens
London Wasps
Rugby Union

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