After two weeks without their international contingent, Wasps welcomed back a number of players from the Saxons squad this week, as the buzz that had come with moving into the top four in the domestic league and qualifying for a European home Quarter Final returned to the training ground.
The Club’s vice-captain, Marco Wentzel, said that the training week ahead of this weekend’s return to domestic action had begun brightly, with the squad keen to get the ball rolling once again.
“It’s good to have the numbers at training again this week. We had a lot of guys away with the Saxons and a couple of guys with slight niggles over the last few weeks, so it is good to have those guys back and have the numbers out on the training pitch. We are back into the Premiership with a big game this weekend.”
Wentzel says that this weekend’s game is an important one. Not just because of a desire to return to winning ways, or to help maintain Wasps’ current position in the top four, but because of the momentum a win against the league leaders and title holders would provide going into a very difficult last part of the season.
“For us, playing an away game is important, because our away record hasn’t been great. Staying in the top four would be a huge boost and the momentum from beating a side like Harlequins would be hugely valuable going into an end of season run like we have. It’s a home game for them and it is going to be a very tough game for us to go and win at the Stoop. We let them go in the game at Twickenham at the start of the season and that did hurt us so we want to go to the Stoop and get a win this weekend.”
“The squad is in a good place in terms of guys being fit at the moment but we have got a very tough run in going into the back end of the season. We are going away to some very tough places and we are hosting some of the top sides in Europe at Adams Park. It is a very tough task ahead of us but the team are really keen to get stuck into it. We could be in a better state in terms of our squad but we are in a much better position than we were last season.”
Despite being in a very positive position in both the Aviva Premiership and the Amlin Challenge Cup, Wentzel is keen to stress the size of the task his team face over the next four months.
“We know how quickly things can change in the Premiership. If you lose a couple of games you will drop down the table very quickly it is so tight, so every game is important.”
“We just have to play to our game plan. We have got into the position we are in by trusting our systems and having the confidence in our abilities to go and play our game. We have got a real structure in our attack now and our defence has been really good, and if we continue to combine those two things we will be in a good place.”
There’s no doubt that London Wasps’ remaining games are tough. Home ties against Gloucester, Northampton Saints, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs have been added to by an Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter Final against reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster, and Wentzel says the team are looking forward to that match up.
“We worked hard to get ourselves a home draw for the Quarter Final and we are very happy with that. They are obviously a great side, having won the Heineken Cup enough times, so it is going to be another tough game for us amongst a number of very difficult games. It is at home for us and we feel very comfortable at Adams Park with that support behind us. It is very exciting but that feels like miles away, with six tough Aviva Premiership games before then.”