Harlequins become the first professional rugby side to host a first Pride-themed fixture on Saturday when they welcome London Irish to The Stoop.

There will be t-shirts and Pride flags given away ahead of the key Premiership clash, as well as stands from The Terrance Higgins Trust, Stonewall and the LGBT+ Police Network.

Former Harlequins player Simon Miall will speak at half-time about his experience at the club where he played from 2002 to 2007, as well as about being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Harlequins No.8 James Chisholm, who captains the side this weekend, said: “I’ve always felt, especially in this club, whoever you are, you are welcome with open arms.”

Head of Rugby Paul Gustard said: “We are delighted to be hosting our LGBTQ+ matchday at The Stoop. It is important as people, and as a club, we continue to show that rugby is a genuine sport for all, and we are all inclusive. I think it’s a great, albeit small, step in the right direction to where we as a club and as a sport want to be.”

The match itself is set to be a fierce encounter, with Quins just one point off fourth place and eager to gain revenge after Irish won their last Stoop meeting 35-5.

Gustard said: “Irish are a well-coached team led by Declan who has assembled a very talented and experienced playing group. They will be hungry to continue their strong form, having become the first team to oversee Northampton Saints this season at Franklin’s Gardens, so we are aware of the very real threat they possess.”

Chisholm said: “We always talk about Saracens being the biggest day for us emotionally and mentally.

“But we have to approach this Saturday against the Irish the same way. There’s some pain from when they beat us twice the year they went down and they are incredibly physical – it usually hurts on the Sunday afterwards!”

Joe Gray, who previously played over 150 games for Quins, makes his second debut after recently joining on loan from Saracens.

Former Welsh international Scott Baldwin is on the bench as the 31-year-old hooker looks to return from a long injury lay-off.

Last month’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month Alex Dombrandt starts at number eight.

Gustard said: “We have been unfortunate with injuries this season most notably in two particular areas this season; hooker and in the centres. As a club we’re delighted to see the second coming of Joe Gray who makes his 151st appearance in the famous quarters on Saturday, and also the return of Scott Baldwin from a severe injury that has limited him to only seven games early on in the campaign.”