Marty Moore wary of old foes’ threat

Wasps prepare to face Connacht in back-to-back European Champions Cup fixtures starting this Sunday and Marty Moore warns that the reigning Pro12 champions will be a huge test.

Marty Moore is sponsored by Metalogic Ltd

Having joined Wasps from Leinster over the summer, Marty Moore is all too familiar with the threat Connacht will pose as they make the trip to Coventry this Sunday, for the first of back-to-back fixtures between the two sides at the top of Pool 2 in the European Champions Cup.

“I’ve played a lot of times against Connacht and I don’t think I’ve played in a game that hasn’t been extremely physical or that has ended with a wider margin of around three to five points either way. They’re always tight games, regardless of who comes out on top they’re in the game for 80 minutes. It’s a physical encounter and that’s the basis for everything, you have to win that battle.”

A side that are renowned for being able to strike from anywhere on the field, Moore warns that Connacht will have little doubt in their ability ahead of the trip to the Ricoh Arena.

“Looking at their players, I’ve played with a lot of them coming up through the age groups at various stages, they can hurt teams. I think half of their tries have started in their own half of the field so they’re a very dangerous side. It’s probably a bit of a different beast to a lot of Pro12 teams in their structure and the way they hold on to and retain the ball for long periods of time to break teams down.”

If you’re not a regular watcher of the Pro 12 you could be forgiven for thinking Connacht were a surprise package in winning the competition last season, but Moore says they are a side who other teams have been wary of for a long time.

“Not so much back home for me in Dublin, where I think Connacht have been a well-known force to be recognised for a while, but I think until they won the Pro 12 last year they were probably dismissed a little bit here in England and in France, purely because it was the Connacht of old in people’s minds. 

“This year there’s huge respect across the board, people realise how formidable a side they are and the threat they pose. 

“The best thing that could’ve happened to us going into Europe this year is that they won the Pro12 last season, because it gives people a renewed perspective of the kind of side they are.”

The next two weeks could be pivotal in deciding who tops Pool 2 of the competition and the novelty of the back-to-back games brings with it a very unique set of challenges.

“It’s always an interesting one. Week one you are going into the unknown a little bit but week two you know what’s coming down the tracks and it comes down purely to who wants it more. You’re not going to catch anyone on the hop, you know what to expect and it puts a lot more emphasis on details.

“It’s always nice I think to start these double headers at home. It’s obviously psychological, but it’s always nice not to be on the road for the first game of a double header. The Ricoh Arena has been very good to us so far this season and we’re all looking forward to Sunday and starting the back-to-back games on the right foot.”

Wasps go into Sunday’s fixture with a bit of momentum. After slipping up on the road to Gloucester, two wins against Sale Sharks and Worcester have got the ball rolling again but Moore says that result wasn’t without its cost.

“Gloucester was a disappointing one. I came off the bench in that one and the feeling was, with 15 minutes to go, we’re one score away from winning the game. That swings and all of a sudden you lose by two scores, which I don’t think reflected how the game was, but we let that one slip. We let ourselves down in a couple of defensive areas, where we needed to be better, and I think we’ve put that right in recent weeks.

“Sunday against Worcester was probably the most physical game I’ve played in since I’ve been here. We’ve had some tough games but it’s probably the one I’ve come away from feeling the sorest at the end of the weekend. 

“I think we dealt with it well; there was a big emphasis on our defence and not leaking any tries or giving soft scores. They had a lot of possession and, looking at it this week, we made a lot of tackles which is something we’re happy with as a squad especially going into Europe where it’s not always about scoring loads of points, it’s going to be defence that it comes down to, so the fact that it’s building a bit of momentum for us is a big plus.

“At the scrum it was really attritional, there were back and forth penalties, it wasn’t a day where one side got solid dominance. Those are tough to take because you’ll get penalised and you’ve just got to take it on the chin and get on with the next phase and then you might get the next one. It’s mind games as much as anything else but it’s a great test going into the next few weeks in Europe.

“This week Connacht are very good playing off turnover counter attack ball and it’s an area where we need to be sharp on.”

Read an in-depth interview with Marty Moore in this weekend's matchday programme.  

Tickets for this Sunday’s clash with Connacht Rugby are still available to purchase online here.

Don't forget there will be a bumper Wasps Nest Fan Village in the Ericsson Exhibition Hall on Sunday, opening at 10.30am. 

Fairground rides including dodgems will be available for rugby supporters to hop aboard free of charge, alongside a host of other activities that the whole family to enjoy.