Harlequins flanker Tom Lawday revealed his side are full of confidence ahead of their mouth-watering clash with Exeter Chiefs in a repeat of last season’s dramatic Gallagher Premiership final. 

The 28-year-old joined Quins from Chiefs ahead of the 2019/20 season and helped his side to a stunning 40-38 victory over the Devonians at Twickenham in June and will once again take on his former teammates with both sides jostling to finish in the top four and secure a semi-final spot this year.   

The defending Premiership champions are on a run of four consecutive wins in all competitions and sit third in the table while Saturday’s opponents and last season’s runners-up are six points behind them in fifth as they look for revenge at the Twickenham Stoop, 196 days after narrowly missing out on retaining their title. 

Lawday said: “In the top six, there’s not much to separate anyone and we know every game counts. 

“I know we’ve had Champions Cup games recently as well, but just to string four victories on the bounce is really good. So, we’re kind of gathering a bit of momentum, our confidence is high, and we’re in a good place.

“For us, it’s just about concentrating on what we do. We haven’t thought too much about them. We know that this will be the first time we play them since the final, and we know that there’s that emotion there for them. 

“They’re going to want to get their own back, and they’re going to try and come down to us and put their game on us so they can dictate the game.”

Quins have made two changes to the side that came out on top against Gloucester with a 20-17 victory at Kingsholm last weekend.

Joe Marler returns to the front row after failing a late fitness test last week and Cadan Murley is restored to the wing after a rest, while Argentina international Santiago Garcia Botta and Louis Lynagh, who scored two tries the last time these two met, are named on the bench. 

Alex Dombrandt will captain Harlequins from the base of the scrum but in form prop Will Collier will lead the side out in West London on his 200th appearance with Lawday expecting a thrilling battle in front of a raucous home crowd. 

He added: “It’s a packed-out Stoop, so we’ll be getting cheered on by everyone, which is great, and we’ll just go out there, play some rugby, entertain and hopefully get the win.

“We know everyone raises their game when they play against the champions, that’s just how it is, and that’s just how it’s going to be. 

“We know that there isn’t an easy game in the Premiership anymore, we just have to be mentally and physically prepared every single week, and so far, we’ve been doing that.”