Cruse relishing challenge of playing Exeter
As Wasps prepare for Sunday's trip to Sandy Park, Tom Cruse says he is enjoying his game time in black and gold, but knows improvements are needed as the Aviva Premiership picks up pace.
Tom Cruse has made an impressive start to the season and having played in all three games of Wasps' new campaign, the hooker says he is enjoying his time out on the pitch.
"Coming into this pre-season knowing Tommy (Taylor) had picked up a pretty bad injury, I knew that I was going to have an opportunity at the start of this season, which is very exciting. You don't wish anyone to have an injury, particularly team mates and friends, but opportunities do come from them. At the end of the day we've all got the same goals to help Wasps win games whether it be Tommy, Ashley (Johnson), TJ (Harris) or myself playing at hooker."
The 28-year-old played the full eighty minutes and scored a try in last week's defeat to Harlequins and says the loss was largely of their own making, but the team know where they need to improve for this week's challenge.
"Last weekend we felt like we didn't exit as well as we potentially could have done, maybe tired our forwards a little bit too much and played a little bit too much in the wrong areas of the pitch. We put ourselves under pressure, with a few 50/50s in attack that we shouldn't have given, where we forced passes and offloads.
"We'll stick to our guns and play the way we play, but we've talked about exiting better. We play the way we do for a reason, because we think it gives ourselves the best chance of winning games. Exeter will play the way Exeter play, they have strong attacking threats and they'll be really physical and look to get at us up front, so we'll have to match them there physically."
Inevitably, with it being the first time that Wasps have faced Exeter since last season's Aviva Premiership final it has been spoken about in the media, but Cruse says the squad have long since moved on.
"Losing a final is massive, you work all year to get into them and before you know it you've lost one and you are back into a new season. I think you have to get over it quite quickly. I think the league is too good to dwell on last year's events, because before you know it you are into your first game. We had Sale Sharks at home, they recruited well and were in your face, so it wasn't an easy fixture to start off. The Quins defeat also showed how tight this league is.
"I think we've moved on from the final, we have a few new faces with ins and outs personnel wise. We feel like we are in a good place and are in a better place having experienced a loss in a final to push on this year."
The competitive nature of the Premiership means that any losses can't be dwelt on, something not lost on Cruse or his teammates.
"This league doesn't let up and obviously going away from home, Sandy Park is renowned as a tough place to go. Nobody is 100% any more after just three rounds, which shows the quality of the league. We're looking forward to it, we are disappointed off the back of that Harlequins result, but looking to bounce back this week. We have prepared well so far this week to go and give it our best shot."
Following this Sunday's trip to Sandy Park, Wasps return home to the Ricoh Arena on Sunday, October 1 (KO 3pm) for Wasps' 150th Anniversary Game against Bath Rugby.
Tickets for the game can be purchased from www.wasps.co.uk/tickets
and start from £23 for adults, while under-10s go free in certain categories.