Harlequins will take centre stage in Europe on Saturday when they clash with Stade Français Paris at Stade de France in the first Heineken Cup match played at the French national stadium - and Will Skinner's team will also have to notch up a first of their own if they are to stay top of Pool 4.
Harlequins have lost all four previous Euro meetings with the 2007 French champions, their Heineken Cup Pool matches last season and in the 2002/03 European Challenge Cup, while the cosmopolitan Parisian side have reeled off 17 straight home wins and been beaten just once in 32 tournament Pool matches in the French capital.
Max Guazzini, the flamboyant Stade president, has arranged a wealth of entertainment for the bumper crowd ahead of the big kick-off and Harlequins Director of Rugby Dean Richards admits: "This match is certainly going to be a spectacle.
"I'm not sure I've ever been involved in something quite like this, with can-can dancers and sword fighting, and while it's going to be a great day there's no point in getting caught up in the occasion.
"The event for us has to be what happens on the field, not off the field, and that's the most important thing. It's hard enough worrying about what's going to be happening on the field than having to worry about everything else and we will prepare in the best possible way.
"And I don't think it will be intimidating for our young guys to go and play in Stade de France, although I think what they will find is that it will be a different Stade de France.
"It won't be like an international match, where the atmosphere is quite different to the Heineken Cup games we have played in Twickenham, and I don't think they will freeze on the day. They have enough inside them to be able to enjoy and take in what's going on around them but to remember that the game's the thing.
"We're always looking at teams in France so from that point of view we have seen a few Stade Français games and know what they are about.
"They are very strong across the board so it's difficult to say that they have weaknesses here or there and players like Beauxis and Hernandez are real stars and show the quality of the team. On paper they have a fantastic side and I'm just hoping that on the day we turn up and are not caught up in the emotions of the occasion.
"Everyone knows that to get through the Pool stages you can only really afford to drop one game so, with both ourselves and Stade Français coming into this double-header unbeaten, of course the stakes are very high.
"In effect this is a winner-takes all scenario. Whatever happens here will have a massive impact on the return match and where we both go on to in the Pool."
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