HARLEQUINS have waited 15 months to right the wrongs against cross-capital rivals Saracens and Jess Breach reckons absence is unlikely to have made hearts grow fonder.

The Allianz Premier 15s heavyweights have contested the last two finals, Saracens winning on both occasions, and occupy the top two spots in the table ahead of this season’s first clash at the StoneX Stadium on Saturday.

The contest offers Quins an opportunity to close the gap on the leaders and seek belated revenge following a battle in December 2019 which saw Saracens claim the bragging rights in dramatic style after mounting a comeback from 24-0 down.

England star Breach hopes to turn the tables in her last domestic match before the Women’s Six Nations and believes those painful memories will give her side extra motivation this weekend.

“It still stings,” said the 23-year-old. “That loss was harder to take than the (previous season’s) final, just because we had such good momentum in the first half.

“We were running away with it but we let them come back into it. We don’t want that to happen again and we need to make sure we play our game.

“Sometimes you can get carried away with how Saracens want to play, their tempo or whatever, but we need to stick to our processes.

“Discipline will be massive. Both teams can give away silly penalties so it will be about keeping our cool and playing our style of rugby.”

Quins were due to welcome their rivals on January 2 but a positive Covid test in the home camp led to a postponement which became a cancellation.

Saracens were awarded the points following an investigation by the Allianz Premier 15s disputes committee.

The Quarters have appealed the verdict and the background adds another layer of spice to an already intriguing contest which is unlikely to have its edge taken off by the fact both teams have play-off places in the bag.

“It’s a massive rivalry – a London derby, the top two going up against each other – and we are looking forward to it,” Breach said.

“You always know it’s going to be a competitive game. Winning it would be a massive confidence boost but these games are always hard to call.

“It’s nice to have some key players back – the likes of Vickii Cornborough, Sarah Beckett and Emily Robinson – and we are going into it with a positive mindset.”

Following Saturday’s domestic duties, Breach will enter the England bubble as the Red Roses go in search of a third successive Six Nations crown.

The previous two have been won with Grand Slams but a format change means Simon Middleton’s side will not be able to complete a hat-trick of clean sweeps, facing off against Pool A rivals Italy and Scotland before a cross-pool play-off.

Prolific wing Breach, who has scored 12 tries across the last two Championships, is looking forward to the challenge and hopes England can seize their opportunity to impress those watching on from home.

“Everyone misses the crowds but for now, we have to put on a show for people and make them happy when they turn on the TV at the weekend,” she said.

“Being in the bubble will be a new challenge. It might be tough at times but we are a tight group and we are all there for each other.

“We’ve had a taste of it in our midweek camps recently and we’ve been putting some great sessions, the environment is really good.

“It feels like a long time since we put on an England shirt so we can’t wait to get out there.”