TOPSY OJO says facing rivals Harlequins at Twickenham on the opening day of the season is “like a great welcome back” to the Aviva Premiership.
London Irish bounced straight back to the top flight after relegation to the Championship and will face Quins as part of the London Double Header on September 2 (4.30pm) at the national stadium.
“It’s a bit poetic, first game back and it’s your local rivals,” club legend Ojo told The Wokingham Paper.
“It’s a great one to start off with.
“It would be exciting for the guys anyway but to have a local derby as your first game adds an extra bit of spice to it.
“It will be exciting for the boys, especially the guys who haven’t played in the double header and maybe haven’t played at Twickenham.
“What better way to start off your campaign.”
He added: “It’s what we all worked for for all of last year.
“It’s like a great welcome back, playing at Twickenham in front of what will definitely be a really good crowd.
“It’s something for the guys to get really excited about as we build through pre-season.”
After the excitement of Twickenham, week two sees the Exiles travel to face reigning champions Exeter Chiefs.
And Ojo says it will be a good marker of how Irish could fare during the season.
“We will definitely have a good gauge of where we are,” said the club’s leading try scorer.
“It’s still early in the season and it’s one of the toughest places in the league to go to.
“Whether it’s a blessing or not going early, we know it’s going to be tough.
“It will give us a good indication of where we are and the level that we need to get to.”