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Simpson: It’s a straight shootout

Joe Simpson looks ahead to the second leg of the European Rugby Champions Cup play-off this Saturday.

Wasps came away from the first-leg fixture on Sunday with a slender one-point lead to take into the second game. That lead swung on a length-of-the-field score from Joe Simpson in the 60th minute. The score showcased Simpson’s pace, which saw him round the covering defender to get to the line but he gives a lot of credit to the work of the forwards that helped open up the gap for him to exploit.

“There was a great carry from Carlo [Festuccia], Swaino [Phil Swainston]’s clearout was exceptional, which gave us good clean ball, Nathan [Hughes] picked the ball up and does what he normally does, got his arms free and managed to get the offload away. I think you’ll be able to hear on the replay that I’m screaming my head off because I saw the gap and lucky enough I was one on one and I still had enough juice after 60 minutes to get on the outside and get to the line. As soon as I saw that he had lineout tape on I knew I was going to get there! That was the longest try I think I’ve ever scored and it was at a very important point in the game for the team. We needed a bit of a boost at that point.”

Simpson says that Wasps’ narrow lead going into the second leg means the game this Saturday in Paris is essentially a one-off game to qualify for next season’s European competition.

“Going to Paris with one point makes it a straight shootout. If we win we go through, if we lose we don’t pretty much. I think mentally it gives us a bit of an advantage but, after a tough game where there were a lot of bumps and bruises, it will all be about who recovers the quickest. They have a big squad, which will help them in that respect. Knockout rugby is what it’s all about so we are all looking forward to going out there.”

“The first part of this week everyone has been carrying knocks from the weekend, but in terms of mental awareness you could tell that everyone was there and really keen to train. Everyone knows how important this game is for the Club and everyone is really excited about the weekend.”

“We know that we have the ability within this squad to beat anyone. Stade Francais have a quality side, there’s no doubt about that, but we looked the more dangerous side throughout the first 80 minutes and that gives us a lot of encouragement going into this weekend’s game.”

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