O'Conor making the most of the LV=Cup
A new face in the Wasps side last weekend, Piers O’Conor has retained the starting fifteen shirt for Sunday’s LV=Cup clash against London Irish.
Piers was one of a number of Academy players to pull on the black and gold jersey for the first time last Saturday and he admits that, although he was excited for the occasion, he was also very apprehensive.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking and I was definitely nervous going into it but it was a great experience and important to learn off the older boys because they do help you progress further in training. It’s a new position for me so it’s been great to feed off those that are more experienced."
Having made the switch from winger to fullback, Piers is relishing the new position and admits he is lucky to have a couple of high calibre fullbacks to learn from.
"I’m really enjoying playing fullback. It really adds to my game and I am able to run it back from deep instead of riding tackle after tackle which is what I like doing so all in all it suits me very well.
"I am lucky that I am able to learn off some great guys here who are experienced in the fullback position. Elliot Daly is a good example of someone who played a lot of fullback last year but can equally play in the centre too and then obviously Andrea Masi has won over 60 caps for Italy, a lot of them in that position, so he is extremely knowledgeable."
Last weekend, Wasps narrowly missed out to Sale Sharks despite scoring four tries and Piers hopes that the team will have learnt from their mistakes going into this weekend.
"We were coming into the wind in the first half so I think we thought the second half would be a lot easier but I think we just got a little bit too relaxed and really we should have put the foot down. I think it comes down to familiarity within the team. There were a lot of Academy boys in the side who were experiencing this kind of pressure for the first time and when it came down to it we just couldn’t finish them off as a collective.
"It will be great to be involved again this weekend as I have never played at Adams Park before and it is obviously a big deal to be able to play at your home ground. Hopefully this weekend we will use any advantages, like the wind, in our favour. I think we need to up our kicking game as well and work on our field position a lot more too. But all in all we need to work on finishing off our attacking phases."
To round off an excellent few weeks for Piers, the young fullback was also called up into the England U20s squad for their first training camp last month. An honour that Piers was not expecting.
"I was both shocked and surprised when I was asked to come along. I haven’t really had a huge amount to do with the International set ups so far so it’s pretty exciting and a huge opportunity for me. I don’t want to look too far ahead regarding Six Nations selections. It’s important I focus on what I am doing now and perform well in the games coming up, so that hopefully good feedback reaches the England selectors."
As part of the new Academy set up, Piers is quick to praise the coaches, who this season, have implemented a new system that is helping him and his teammates to push through as far as they can go.
"We have some good guys coming through who are training well so hopefully they will get a chance over the next couple of weeks to get involved in games or training with the first team boys. The set-up we’ve got with our strength & conditioners and coaches is great and they are pushing us to be the best we can be so it’s going really well." Tickets for the game are still available to purchase via our Online Ticket Office.