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Harlequins return to the Aviva Premiership this weekend against fierce local rivals London Irish, shorn of their international stars, looking to reignite a season which threatens to be a victim of the cold and damp nature of the current weather.

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A thumping by Northampton, back to back losses in the LV and the far more gut wrenching defeat in Galway could be seen to have undone much of the early season success.

However, Quins are still top of the Premiership, having led from the start, meaning there is still an almighty amount to play for.

During the 2008/9 or more commonly known ‘Bloodgate’ season, Quins finished second at the end of normal time and played a home quarter final in the Heineken Cup.

This season the Heineken Cup has slipped away but with the prospect of a home semi and final in the Amlin if messers Wilkinson, Shaw et al can be overturned in the French sun, the team still have much to play for.

Arguably the minimum the players and fans expect is a home semi in the Premiership and what better way to achieve that than finishing in top spot, one better than 2008/9.

With two home games against Irish and Worcester coming up we need to start thinking as Leicester or Sarries would.

Both sides create a fear factor and would be aiming for a guaranteed 4 points per game and with the hard ground (due to frost rather than sun this time) why not expect a bonus point in at least one.

Closest rivals, Saracens have provided the England back line (well almost if you count Watford bound Ashton) and therefore could be at risk of slipping up during the Six Nations, however looking at their squad and remaining international names that may be wishful thinking.

With a fast improving Leicester who have a number of returning stars such as Flood, and Northampton who have recently shown Quins their quality, Saracens may not be the only ones to worry about.

It’s times like these when games away at Newcastle become Championship and relegation deciders, I’m just glad that we will be looking to contest the former this time around.

While my bank balance is unlikely to thank me for home semis in either of the Amlin or Premiership (I seem to remember the Leinster game setting me back more than £50) ‘Harlequins FC £50 dr’ is something that Quins fans across the land will be hoping they see on bank statements come April and May.

So get behind captain George Robson tomorrow, I will (un)fortunately be in Rome watching our club captain take on the Azzurri for England where anything other than a victory will also be unthinkable and a disaster.

Cheer loudly, sing the mighty Quin and most importantly, keep it multicoloured!

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