Coach Nick Evans believes Harlequins will be testing themselves against the ‘best team in the competition’ when they face Leicester Tigers this weekend.

The defending champions travel to unbeaten Tigers with the hosts topping the table, having taken eight wins from eight games so far this season.

Steve Borthwick’s team have looked almost invincible so far, picking up five bonus points and beating both Exeter Chiefs and Saracens.

But Quins won’t be overawed and have received a major boost in the form of both Marcus Smith and Alex Dombrandt returning to the team for the first time since pulling on England shirts in the recent Autumn Nations Series.

However, attack and backs coach Evans did admit he expects a very difficult opposition waiting for them at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on Sunday.

“We’re expecting a big challenge against Leicester this week,” he said. “Their power game and set-piece is very good.

“We have talked about getting our mentality right and they are top of the league for a reason and we see this as an opportunity to bounce back from last week’s loss.

“They are a quality outfit and you expect someone like Steve (Borthwick) to make sure their set-piece is right and he has brought that mentality of Leicester of old back.

“We are going to test ourselves against the best team in the competition and we always back ourselves and we have to create scenarios with the ball where we put them under stress and put our game on the park.”

Senior coach Tobai Matson added: “They are running hot and are the best team in the competition at the moment.

“To go away there and put in a really good performance is important for us.”

Quins will be desperate to bounce back after a disappointing 22-19 defeat to London Irish last week but do have reinforcements.

As well as Smith and Dombrandt’s timely return to club action, Scottish international centre Huw Jones will make his first Gallagher Premiership start.

Meanwhile exciting young winger Oscar Beard is on the replacements bench after scoring twice in the loss against Irish last time out.

Although fans will be excited to see Smith back in a Quins jersey, he has the added challenge this week of going up against the man who he displaced at fly-half in the England squad, George Ford.

The performance of both playmakers will be key to deciding the result between the two high-fliers, with Evans describing it as a fascinating battle “that Marcus is looking forward to.”

The game looks set to be an entertaining affair with both teams having scored four or more tries in at least five Premiership games already this season.

Quins currently sit third in the table on 28 points, nine off leaders Leicester, after five wins and three defeats from their opening eight fixtures.

The Tigers will be taking to the field for their first Premiership game in over a month, due to a bye last week and the break for the Premiership Rugby Cup prior to that.