Danny Care's challenge to become the first-choice England scrum-half got off to the best possible start as he played a key role in Harlequins' 24-21 victory over Saracens.
The 21-year-old broke into the England squad last season and played in both summer internationals against New Zealand, starting the second Test in Christchurch.
Competition for the red rose scrum-half jersey is strong, particularly with Leicester’s Harry Ellis back on the international scene after a long recovery from knee surgery.
But Care is relishing the challenge and he provided the scoring passes for both Quins tries in a typically sparky performance at Twickenham.
“This is a really important season for me,” he said.
“People talk about the second season - you have got to perform again and there is an expectancy to perform.
“That is something I am looking forward to and I just want to play as much as I can for Quins and for England.”
Care attacked the Saracens blind-side from a close-range scrum and took great pleasure in sending David Strettle in for the opening try after just 53 seconds.
In the second half, with Saracens threatening a comeback after a brilliant 60-metre solo try from Adam Powell, Care received a long lineout throw in midfield and flicked an inside pass for Ugo Monye to score under the posts.
Saracens kept the pressure on with a try from scrum-half Neil de Kock but Quins, helped by 11 points from the boot of former New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans, held out for an important opening day win.
“I like it when we are playing attacking rugby and I think that is something we have at Quins in abundance,” Care said.
Monye’s all-round performance was hailed as “outstanding” by Quins boss Dean Richards, even if captain Will Skinner was none too impressed by the winger’s Usain Bolt-style try celebration.
Monye still had two defenders to beat when he saluted the crowd before using his scintillating pace to accelerate under the posts.
Care added: “He likes to celebrate his tries and he will definitely do a few more of them this season.”