Goode focused on Sandy Park challenge

This weekend Wasps travel to Exeter Chiefs, having lost all five previous encounters at Sandy Park in all competitions.

Wasps have never won away at Exeter and that fact is not lost on Andy Goode who, when we caught up with him amid preparations for this weekend’s trip, said that this Saturday’s game would be a huge test of the men in black and gold.

“They are sitting second in the league, we want to be pushing ourselves towards the top end of the league and this weekend gives us a great opportunity to do that. It’s very tight in the top six now and if you want to be in the top echelons of the league you have to go and perform and places like Sandy Park. It’s a very hard place to go but with the squad we have this year it is probably the best opportunity we’ve had to go and put in a big performance and win.”

Wasps go into the game on the back of an eleven-try 71-7 win over London Welsh and, having struggled against the sides outside of the top four this season, despite doing well against the top-ranked sides, Goode says that the result last weekend helped to rid a few doubts about the team’s consistency.

“We had spoken in the week about it being a potential banana skin for us; you never know what is going to happen after the LV=Cup. We were very focused on getting the right result from the game; we knew the connections the two sides had, with a few of their players having played here previously, and there was a lot of focus on the game. Dai [Young] drilled that focus into us pretty early in the week and we didn’t take anything for granted. We provided an 80 minute performance and were clinical in everything we did.

“You respect the opposition you’re playing against for their merits but I thought that we made a hell of a lot of line breaks at the weekend. Wadey finished off a few, Tom Varndell grabbed one from a great break from Alex [Lozowski], Joe Simpson finished one off a break from Kearnan Myall and Sailosi [Tagicakibau]’s try was a great team score. Our structures, shapes and phase play were good. We create a lot and haven’t finished them all of this year, so it was great to show some great handling in wet conditions on Sunday, which was really positive.”

“We have definitely been up for the big games and we have done well against the likes of Bath, Northampton and we should have beaten Saracens. On the flip side of that there have been those games where we haven’t been quite there like Harlequins and Sale away. There were questions hanging over us about whether we had that edge in the games we were expected to win and on Sunday I think we answered a lot of those. It was a pretty complete performance.”

This weekend’s game against Exeter Chiefs is a different kind of challenge. They currently sit in second place in the Aviva Premiership table and, having never won at Sandy Park, there is no chance of the side taking the game lightly.

“We’ve got the two away games at Exeter and Leicester against two sides who we are competing with in terms of league position and those two games will need a really big focus from us. You can’t target certain games, you want to win every one of them, but you have to perform on the road, you can’t just be good at home. Exeter are a great side, they’re well coached and playing a nice brand of rugby but hopefully we can go down there and impose our game on them. Our focus all this year has been on ourselves and on our own game. This weekend will be no different.”