JOHN Kingston warned Wasps that revenge will be on the cards when they meet Harlequins on the opening day of the Premiership season, writes Tim Street.
Quins take on their London rivals in the second leg of what has become the English rugby season’s traditional curtain-raiser at Twickenham on September 7.
Kingston experienced the high and lows against Wasps last season, and the head coach is looking forward to avenging their last clash – a 17-16 home defeat – following the release of the Premiership fixtures for 2013/14.
He said: “Rivalries are ever-changing in the modern game, but for me, Quins against Wasps is a good old-fashioned one, going right back to when I was a player, and it’s a game I always look forward to.
“The two (league) games against them last season brought very mixed emotions, starting with that crazy game at Twickenham when we came back from what looked like an impossible position.
“They got their revenge at The Stoop, and that defeat still sticks a little in the throat for us. You look back at that game, and that is where it started to slip away for us.
“Defeats like that meant we weren’t able to get into the top two, and although we are proud of our away record against the top teams, it could have made a world of difference not playing Leicester at Welford Road in the play-offs. That February game was definitely a low point of the season for me, and it will be on our minds when we open the new season against Wasps.”
Quins’ first home game, albeit just over the road from their opening game’s venue, is against Northampton Saints a week later, while Saracens, one of only two other teams to win in the league at The Stoop last season, will provide another early test there on September 28.
Kingston’s troops have another chance for revenge, this time for their play-off defeat, when they return to Leicester on October 2, while Exeter, the other league victors at The Stoop, will try to repeat the feat at Twickenham, in December 28th’s ‘Big Game’.
Quins’ away game at Saracens will be played at Wembley Stadium on March 22, while the regular season finishes at The Stoop, against Bath, on May 10.