Having joined the full time Academy setup in 2006 and making his debut against Newcastle Falcons in 2008, Simpson has been an integral part of the London Wasps DNA for what is, in the world of professional sport, a sizeable period.
The form of the team this year is a by-product of the faith shown by some of the most talented youngsters in the squad, including Simpson, who signed on for more even when the Club was struggling, and it is clear that his 100th appearance is something he’s hugely proud of.
“I see myself as a big club man. I have been at this club for a long time and as such I am massively proud of the fact that I have represented it 100 times. Wasps helped me from being a youngster through to being a full time professional and has given me many of the things that I craved as a young kid; helping me to represent my country through the age groups and then earn my international cap for England.”
After losing to London Irish and Worcester in the last two outings before the two weeks off during the final stages of the LV=Cup, London Wasps have three games which are undoubtedly massive.
Three fixtures at Adams Park against Northampton, Saracens and Leinster are clearly going to test the Club to its limits. Despite their most recent displays not being at the level the squad have set for themselves, Simpson says that he and his fellow teammates are looking forward to proving themselves against some of the biggest names in European rugby.
“This is going to be a bruising couple of weeks for us, it is going to test the whole squad both mentally and physically and is going to test the depth of the squad because we aren’t going to be able to field the same fifteen players for all of those games. There are going to be some hugely difficult games against sides who will have been boosted by the return of their international players so we will be facing those sides at their strongest. There’s no doubt that the next three weeks are going to test us and I think that they will really give us an indication of where we are.”
First up are Northampton, which is a big one in terms of the Aviva Premiership table. Fifth place plays sixth place in an encounter which sees two sides who have produced some dazzling performances against the top names, and slipped up against the sides towards the bottom of the table, come face to face. It is clear that Simpson has no doubt in his mind about the rewards on offer.
“Northampton can beat any of the top sides but have slipped up against some of the lesser sides much in the same way as we have, so they will be as keen as we are to get a result from that fixture, which would see them leapfrog us in terms of the table. There are also going to be some huge individual matchups for some guys who are looking ahead to international selection for the EPS squad, wanting to prove themselves against their opposite numbers so there is going to be no love lost when the two sides face each other. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a hard fought encounter; there’s a lot at stake.”
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