Cash-strapped English rugby will say a collective prayer that the return of paying fans today goes off without a hitch.
Premiership clubs inactive since early March are haemorrhaging money and desperate that the Harlequins-Bath ‘pilot’ game is a forerunner to them all being permitted to re-open their turnstiles.
“We see this as being a supremely critical step to getting our sport and our micro economy back on its feet,” said Quins chief executive Laurie Dalrymple.
“A massive stepping stone to where we can potentially go, hopefully in a short space of time.”
Up to 3,500 people are being allowed into Twickenham Stoop for what Dalrymple admits will be a spectator experience “far removed” from what they are used to.
Tickets costing up to £50 were available through a ballot to only season ticket holders who are pre-designated a seat and a specific arrival time.
Health screening, including temperature spot checks, will be carried out and food and drinks will be delivered to fans in their seats through an app.
Furthermore, Dalrymple has written to every local resident to try to allay fears as “we accept there will be an increase in anxiety and concern”.
The game will be stewarded as though there is a capacity 15,000 crowd and added parking is being laid on to accommodate every fan if needed.
Quins team boss Paul Gustard said: “Like every club, we have asked for fans’ support over the last six months and a lot of that support has been financial.
“People are still investing, buying season tickets for next season and keeping money in the club for games they could have lost, or have lost.
“For our players it is a privilege to play in front of this 3,500 and be the first club to do that.”