Tagicakibau: We are focused on ourselves
Sailosi Tagicakibau says that Wasps are going into the unknown this weekend when they face Castres, who currently lie bottom of the Top 14.
Wasps expect a backlash, that much is clear. After losing out narrowly to Leinster in Round 2 of the competition, it is clear that Castres are a handful and Tagicakibau says that, ahead of their game in southern France this weekend, Wasps know they could have a tough task on their hands.
“We don’t know too much about what we’ll be up against this weekend. They aren’t doing as well as they would expect domestically and they could throw anything at us. We need to focus on ourselves and concentrate on continuing that improvement we have seen in the last two games. The boys are working really hard and this weekend is a great opportunity for us to get a good win and kick on.”
Wasps go into the fixture on the back of two losses on the road, but Tagicakibau is keen to take the positives from last Saturday’s two-point defeat at the hands of Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
“It was pretty difficult mentally not to come away with the win at Leicester. Things didn’t go our way, but I think we stepped it up from our performance against Exeter the week before. That’s the main thing; we’re going in the right direction and now we need to tweak those little things to make sure we win those narrow games.
“The boys really responded after a disappointing match at Exeter. Welford Road is a tough place to go, much like Sandy Park, but we were in it right until the end on Saturday. Things didn’t go our way and we came out second best, but it was a turnaround from the trip to Exeter.
“Nobody likes to lose. We haven’t had the best record away from home. We know that, but we can change all of that by going to a hostile environment like Castres and getting a result.”
Wasps currently sit third in Pool 2 of the European Champions Cup and Tagicakibau says the team are still in with a shout of qualifying, especially if they go to France and win this weekend.
“We’ve still got a chance of coming away with something in this tournament. If you want to do well in the top tier of Europe you have to go away to places like Castres and win. If we do that, it will leave us in good stead as we round off the group stages of the competition.”
Personally, Tagicakibau’s time in black and gold so far has been fruitful. Since joining the Club over the summer, he has had eight starts and one appearance from the bench, making himself something of regular on the wing, despite being part of what is a hugely competitive group vying for that position. He says that the competition has brought out the best in him.
“We have a good squad and there is a lot of competition. The chances of us performing badly again are minimal because everybody knows if they don’t play at their best, they will probably not be included the following week. We are pushing each other and it builds that competition in the squad and that need to take advantage of your opportunities.
“The group of wingers we have here is top class. Every week we push each other for selection and the competition is really good. We’ve got four international-standard players all vying for two starting spots on the wing. Will [Helu] and Christian [Wade] are currently out injured but are both internationals. Add them to Tom Varndell and myself and you have a really strong pool to choose from, not to mention the young guys like Josh Bassett and Tom Howe.
“The boys are making the most of their opportunities and playing well. I am focused on playing as well as I can and keeping hold of the starting shirt. If you give it up you don’t know if you’ll ever get it back. The competition is really strong but it will only bring out the best in us.”