The new-look European Challenge Cup got off to a scorching start last weekend with Border Reivers among the five away winners, providing the Scots with the perfect preparation to welcome Newcastle Falcons to Netherdale on Sunday afternoon for a contest with plenty of extra spice.
Fate almost decreed that the teams would collide in the tournament and former Newcastle coach Steve Bates is relishing the challenge of putting his team up against his star-studded opponents from across Hadrian's Wall.
The Falcons also made a flying start - beating 1997 Heineken Cup winners Brive 51-19 - to set up a fascinating Anglo-Scots local derby.
"As soon as the draw was made this was always going to be the big one for us," said Bates.
"What with Newcastle being our near neighbours, plus my old connection with them and us having a few former Newcastle players now with Border Reivers, the match has got a lot going for it.
"George Graham and Alan Tait on our coaching staff played for Newcastle and our back row forward Semo Sititi also was a Newcastle player while I was involved in coaching Newcastle between 1996 and 2003.
"Jonny (Wilkinson) is back and playing well and is obviously a massive threat. But they have a very good backline with other top class players like Matt Burke, Mathew Tait, Jamie Noon and Mark Mayerhofler, so we are very aware of what they are capable of doing as a unit.
"It is not often that rugby supporters in the area have the chance to see World Cup winning players performing on their own doorstep so I hope we will get a big crowd behind us on Sunday afternoon.
"We are certainly not in the same league as them financially but our players are really looking forward to the challenge."
Reivers, Toulon, Agen, London Irish and Gloucester Rugby were the five away-day winners, Reivers' 32-25 victory in L'Aquila including five tries.
"We wanted to play an expansive game and this was a great opportunity to re-establish some of the style we are after and it certainly made for a great game," said Bates.
"We had a great start with an early score and we did well to not only start the tournament with a win but also with a try bonus point as L'Aquila are a good side."
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.