LONDON Irish centre Curtis Rona has urged his teammates to hit the ground running when they return to Gallagher Premiership action at Harlequins on Saturday (3pm).

Exiles pulled off a shock 20-16 victory at Northampton Saints last month, and have been enjoying a warm-weather training camp as they look to lift themselves above their current 10th-placed position in the table.

Looking ahead to the derby at The Stoop, Rona said: “There is a rivalry with Harlequins, obviously they are based just down the road from Hazelwood.

"We know they have been going really well and have had two good wins recently. They’ve been playing well, and it is a challenge we are excited about."

He continued: “If we could get two back-to-back wins, it would be nice for us. It will be good to build confidence going into future games.

“The morale was high after the Northampton game and still is. Obviously, it was an important win for us. The boys showed a lot of character to craft those last few minutes out, and something we will need to continue to do in the big games. It was an important few points to pick up as we look to keep climbing the ladder.”

"Quins is a big focus point for us, and we have been working on our combinations. Hopefully we can hit the ground running against them – I can’t wait for it.”

Reflecting on the squad's time away, he added: "“The sessions have been really enjoyable. We’ve had some of our best sessions as a team.

“They have been intense, but everyone is loving being back in the sun. The boys have been gelling well and enjoying every time we get out on the field.

"It has been a great opportunity to get to know each other better and it’s the first trip away as a group for an extended period. We didn’t go away in pre-season due to World Cup commitments, so it was a good to get away as a group."

He continued: “We have a few players coming back from injury, so it’s good for them to be in and around the boys again. Also, we have the younger players mixing with the more experienced players, which will help as we continue to gel and will be important moving forward in the season.”