Quins boss Conor O'Shea knows how hard it is to play Connacht in Galway
Conor O'Shea can't wait to meet up with his old Irish team mate Eric Elwood in Galway on Friday night, but the beers will be on hold until his Harlequins side have done as much as they can to clinch a Heineken Cup quarter-final spot.
Their 20-14 home win over Gloucester kept the reigning Amlin Challenge Cup holders in the hunt for top spot in Pool 6, although they will have to rely on the west countrymen doing them a favour when they host the four times winners at Kingsholm.
But O'Shea is well enough versed in European rugby not to predict anything or to hope for anyone else to do you favours, although he expects Gloucester to be smarting from their lat gasp defeat at the Twickenham Stoop.
"We go into the last round with an opportunity to go through and we will forget that Connacht have lost 14 in a row. We know what it's like to go there and how hard it will be," said O'Shea.
"I'm looking forward to meeting up with Eric, but Friday night in Galway will be a cracking atmosphere and a real game. We just need to be more accurate than we were against Gloucester, although it wouldn't be as much fun if was easy and didn't have a bit of tension.
"We went for too many miracle balls and weren't accurate enough. This time last year I felt we would probably have lost that game, bout the character of the side came through.
"We've had a number of big games back to back - Saracens and Northampton Saints in the Premiership and Toulouse twice and Gloucester in the Heineken Cup - and the players are getting used to playing at this level."
Harlequins did the double over Connacht in the Amlin Challelnge Cup last season and were 25-17 winners at The Twickenham Stoop in Round 1 in what was the Irish province's Heineken Cup debut.
With 16 points from their five games to date this season, Quins are two behind Pool leaders Toulouse. A win in Galway will keep their hopes alive on three fronts - winning the Pool if Toulouse lose in Gloucester, finishing as one of the two best runners-up and making the last eight or qualifying to defend their Amlin Challenge Cup crown by taking one of the three places on offer in that tournament's last eight.
"We've all learned from Munster over the years that you don't start thinking about getting any extra points in Heineken Cup matches. We'll just go to Galway looking to win and take it from there," said O'Shea.
"All the English clubs take a huge amount of pride in playing in this tournament and we know that Gloucester will be going all out to take a major scalp on Friday night. It will be the same for Northampton Saints when they host Munster."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.