Following a decent preseason schedule which saw Wasps win two games from three, Simpson believes the squad are in good shape ahead of the London Double Header.
“We are all feeling pretty fit and sharp at the moment and there’s been a real intensity about training in the last few weeks. Quins are a pretty settled side and play a very fast paced attacking game – and given how we like to play I am sure this game is going to be exciting to watch. We’ve got a lot of new faces in the squad but the combinations have been coming together.”
Simpson is particularly excited about the impact of fly half Andy Goode, who has enjoyed a fine pre-season at the Club.
“I have been lucky to have played with some classy fly halves in my career and Andy Goode is one of them. He is top quality and never gets the credit he deserves. Players who have played with him always speak really highly of him but it’s odd that sometimes others don’t rate him as highly as they should. His kicking percentages will be really important for us and he’s a player who’s as good in the wet weather as he is in dry weather so I think he’s going to be vital for us.”
Having been part of a recent England camp as a Saxons player, Simpson also has some high aims for himself this season, and makes no secret of his hopes to add to his one England cap.
“I am desperate to get back in England frame. I love playing for Wasps and was delighted to sign a contract extension here. One of the reasons I did that was because I feel like this Club is growing and I feel like with someone with England ambitions this is a good place to be. I know I need to play well for Wasps to have any chance to get selected and that is my aim. The England camp recently was very good and I felt part of it. There was a big squad there but it felt like one squad and not two and that was pleasing. I would be very disappointed if I retired in the future and hadn’t achieved more with England and that is where I set the bar for myself.”
As for Wasps chances this season, Simpson is happy to be cautious.
“The minimum we can tolerate is improvement. Everything needs to get better about our game and hopefully the results will come then. We have to be realistic and realise that in the Aviva Premiership there are three of four likely candidates and while we would love to be pushing for that at the end of the season, we are probably a few years away from really contesting for it. We want to keep progressing and finish a lot stronger than last season.”
“We have a young squad who have a great chance to together dictate what this team can become. Guys like Sam Jones, Joe Launcbhury, Christian Wade and Elliot Daly will hopefully be around for a long time at Wasps and the team can be moulded around them. That is something that all of us want to be part of.”
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