Johnson not ready to let good run end
Ashley Johnson says that the side must kick on after recording their fourth straight win at the weekend.
After two back-to-back wins over Castres and an emphatic win in the opening game at the Ricoh Arena over London Irish, Wasps earned a hard-fought win against Gloucester on Sunday. This weekend, the men in black and gold return to the Ricoh Arena for the second game at their new home as they host fellow top-six contenders Sale Sharks.
Ahead of the game this Sunday, Ashley Johnson said that the team must be beating sides around them in the table if they want their top six aspirations to become a reality.
“We’ve strung together a good run of wins recently but it is important for us to kick on from there. We have top six aspirations and, if you want to be up there at the end of the season, you have to beat the sides around you in the table. Sale are one of those sides who we are competing directly with for one of those top six spots and it’s games like this weekend that we need to win. If we get our basics right, keep doing what we have done well over the last few weeks and add to that we know we can beat most sides in this league. We’re still a work in progress but we feel like we are improving all the time.”
“It was at the back of our minds that we hadn’t won away from home in a long time but, as a squad, it is great that we have got that out of the way now and we need to push on from here. We’re all really looking forward to this weekend. It’s the second game at the Ricoh Arena and we really want to make it somewhere that we enjoy playing so another win at home is something we’re all very focused on.”
“Sale are a very different side to Gloucester in the way they play the game and they will provide us with totally different challenges. We know that the last time we played Sale the main areas of contest were the set piece and the breakdown so that is where we have to improve. They have a very strong pack who fight hard for the ball and they have a fly half in Danny Cipriani who dictates the way they want to play, bossing them around the park and putting them into good field position. We need to front up as a pack of forwards first and foremost and try to dominate the set piece. We know that, with Andy Goode and a backline who can score tries, if we win the battle up front we will put ourselves in a great place.”
Johnson is quick to highlight the mistakes the side have made in recent weeks but there have been a number of positives to come from the performances with some impressingly physical performances up front and a number of great tries from the backline.
“This time of year is difficult. It is not as dry as you would like it to be so you have to adapt your game to meet the conditions. We have really fronted up in recent weeks as a pack and the game management by the half backs has been excellent, getting us on the front foot and playing in the right areas of the field. We know that we are a good attacking side, so if we get ourselves into good position inside the opposition half or around the 22 we will come away with points.”
Johnson has found himself in a back row that is touted by many as one of the best in the Aviva Premiership. Johnson, Haskell and Hughes have been the men in possession of starting shirts and, with the likes of Sam Jones, Guy Thompson, Ed Jackson and Thomas Young waiting in the wings, there is no sign of those three letting their performances slip.
“They’re all talented players and, for me, it makes my job so much easier playing with guys like them. We all have our role to play in the team and have different strengths. If everyone sticks to the script and doesn’t try to do too much we all complement each other quite well. I have really enjoyed playing with those guys this season and their talents have supplemented my game really well. You’ve got really good players who are not even getting in the squad at the moment, so that competition has really made us all better players. We have to be if we want to play every week! There are guys just waiting to take their chance if you give them the opportunity.” Tickets for this Sunday’s game against Sale Sharks are still available to purchase via the Online Ticket Office or by calling 08448471867.