Johnson: “We have improved every year”

Back Rower Ashley Johnson looks ahead to the 2014/15 season, which kicks off at Twickenham this Saturday.

This weekend Wasps kick off the new campaign at Twickenham, where they take on Saracens in the London Double Header. After a gruelling pre-season, which has included a training camp in Portugal, fixtures against London Welsh and Connacht, as well as a training game at Esher, Ashley Johnson says the squad can’t wait to get started.

“It has been a very good pre-season. Plans had to be adjusted slightly when the season ran longer than we thought it would with those games against Stade Francais but the boys have come back in really hungry to work hard. All the teams in the Aviva Premiership will be thinking the same. Everyone’s had a good pre-season and all the sides will all be raring to go this weekend.”

With thirteen new players joining the squad ahead of the new campaign, Johnson says that the pre-season games were key in helping the players start to gel.

“I think that the pre-season games were really useful for us in getting the new players some game time and giving us the chance to play with them. We have worked hard all pre-season and we have looked good in our pre-season hit outs so we will go into the season with confidence.”

“Pre-season games are there to highlight areas that you need to work on and we have looked at those areas after the two games. Since I have been here we have improved every year and there is nothing better than feeling like you are building towards something like that. This season we want to make a step forward from last year and that starts in the first game this weekend.”

This Saturday Wasps travel to Twickenham, where they will face Saracens, who topped the Aviva Premiership table for most of last season. Johnson says that he is looking forward to starting the season with that kind of challenge.

“We have been really unlucky the past two years in the London Double Header so hopefully, if it comes down to it, we can get the luck on our side this weekend. In the past two seasons, whenever we have made the trip to Twickenham we have been really well prepared and nothing has changed this year. We need to pull everything together this weekend to produce a complete performance.”

“It is a great challenge playing Saracens in the first game of the season, they have really set the standard in the past few years. Everyone knows about how good their defence is but everyone also knows about the ability we have in attack. For us it will all be about getting the kind of ball that the guys out wide want to be able to test Saracens’ defence. It will be a great battle this weekend between attack and defence and we’re all really looking forward to getting going.”