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O'Shea: Quins ready for Leicester

Conor O'Shea believes his Harlequins team will face the standard-bearers for English club rugby on Saturday.

Quins host Aviva Premiership leaders Leicester at the Twickenham Stoop, knowing victory is vital in their title play-off quest.

But Quins rugby director O'Shea is under no illusions about the challenge Tigers will present, and said: "They are the side that have set, and continue to set, the standards for club rugby, both domestically and in Europe. We know the challenge we face, but we are also aware of the type of side that we are and are aiming to be."

He added: "Playing against Leicester is first and foremost a physical battle, and the players are looking forward to it hugely."

Quins are four points behind fourth-placed Northampton, having played a game more, while Leicester effectively need two wins from their last four games to secure a home play-off tie next month.

Northampton, buoyed by the return of England quartet Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood when they crushed Wasps 39-3 last Sunday, host Sale Sharks on Saturday.

And another win for Saints would keep them firmly in the play-off picture, while also increasing pressure on sixth-placed Quins and London Irish, in fifth, who have both played a game more.

Newcastle head to third-placed Gloucester, facing the west country club just a fortnight after losing 34-7 against them in the LV= Cup final on neutral territory at Northampton.

The Falcons have only successfully stormed Kingsholm once before on Premiership business - their title-winning season of 1997/98 - while Gloucester boast an unbeaten league record there this term.

Sunday's Premiership action sees bottom club Leeds Carnegie - one place and six points below Newcastle - hosting Exeter, while struggling Wasps visit Irish and Saracens entertain Bath.

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