James Horwill has been forced to bide his time to make his European Champions Cup bow but that long wait is coming to an end.

Harlequins will face La Rochelle in their first Champions Cup match since the 2014-15 campaign, having snatched the final Aviva Premiership Rugby qualifying spot last season.

Quins have been drawn with fellow English outfit Wasps and Guinness PRO14 side Ulster, as well as French outfit La Rochelle, who they will take on at the Stoop on Saturday.

And speaking ahead of the match, club captain Horwill, who joined from Highlanders last season, cannot wait to run out for his side on the biggest European stage.

He said: “It’s the first time that I have been in the Champions Cup since I have been at the club. I'm very excited.

“It was something I certainly wanted to do when coming over and playing in the Northern Hemisphere, to mix it with the best teams in Europe and we’re there doing that, so it’s an exciting time for the club. 

“La Rochelle played very well last year. They topped the Top 14 in the regular season. Obviously, they’re a big side and they have got a bit of pace out wide, so that’s going to be exciting for us." 

Quins director of rugby John Kingston added: “The Champions Cup is that step further. It’s like the Champions League in football, isn’t it? To test yourself against different opposition is a fantastic thing and spreading our wings around the whole of Europe is brilliant.

“La Rochelle are a big, strong side. We know that. Every time you play French opposition, you know you’re going to get a competitive game, so it wouldn’t matter who you’re playing, but we’re at home at The Stoop.

“To start at home, you can’t ask for more than that really.”