Simpson relishing underdog status
Joe Simpson says he is looking forward to the challenge when Wasps travel to Toulon as firm underdogs this week for the Quarter Final of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
After facing Saracens and Northampton Saints in the last two outings, Wasps go into the game with no shortage of experience against the top sides in Europe and Simpson says the team know they can pose the reigning European champions a real threat if they get things right.
"We are huge underdogs going into the game, but that also means we've got nothing to lose. All the pressure will be on them in front of their home fans. The uptake from our supporters for the game has been huge and we will really need all of that support out there. We always say we are a side who concentrate on ourselves and that has to be the way we approach this weekend’s game. We are a strong unit and we have players who can hurt you in attack and that makes us dangerous.”
One of those threats that Wasps will look to utilise is in-form winger Christian Wade. On the back of a hat-trick against the Aviva Premiership champions last weekend, Simpson says that Wade will be one of the players Toulon will have to account for.
"On his day, there are not many better finishers in the game than Christian and he is a nightmare to try to tackle, you can't get near him. He has showed that consistently this season and to get a hat-trick against Saints was huge, so we have that in our armoury. It's one thing knowing what players like him are going to do but it's totally different to try and stop him."
Wasps last featured in the knockout stages of the Europe's top competition in 2007 and in that year they went on to lift the trophy. Simpson emphasised that point, highlighting the size of the occasion.
"Quite a few players don't realise how special these matches are until they are gone, but a lot of players go their whole careers without playing in a European quarter final. It will be the biggest match in a lot of our players' careers and we need to make sure we take the bull by the horns.
"When we are 40, 50 or 60 we need to remember this performance and the performance each player gave individually. There is absolutely no added motivation needed for this one.
"We can't be resting on our laurels now because we have such a huge match against Toulon, but we have an elongated turn around which can work for us.
"I think the scoreline against Saints flattered them as a lot of points went in a short space of time at the end of the game. We know we can't do the same against Toulon because they are probably the best side in the world at the moment. So we have to be on our mettle for a full 80 minutes and make sure that we are concentrating 100 per cent on what we need to do.”