Wasps played the first leg of the European Rugby Champions Cup play-off last weekend against Stade Francais and came out on top by the narrowest of margins. Andy Goode helped steer Dai Young’s men with a flawless kicking performance and stressed how the win, despite it being by just one point, has created a positive feeling going into the second leg.
“The game had some good points and some bad to be honest. It was very symptomatic of our season as we worked very hard to get our scores, created some really good opportunities but then it was disappointing how we let them get points. But to beat a top side like that is good, it gives us great momentum going forward in training this week and it makes this weekend’s game a pure cup final which we will back ourselves in.”
The men in black and gold withstood a late onslaught by Stade Francais to take the win by a lone point. However, Goode insists that focusing on points can be distracting and ultimately, the team’s aim is to nail down another win by any margin.
“I don’t think only winning by a single point changes anything as we go out to win every game. I know it is stating the obvious, but we knew at the start of this two-legged affair that if you win both games then you are into the European Rugby Champions Cup next year. We know it is going to be difficult but we have won twice in France this year and we have confidence in ourselves.”
“In the same breath, if we had gone out to France with a 10 point lead some guys might have looked at the game differently and I think because we just have a one point lead it refocuses the mind completely. We know we can take the game to them and we know we have the ability to score tries against them.”
Having now faced Stade Francais, Goode is aware of the threat they face both as a team and individually and highlights how they will punish Wasps given half a chance.
“They have dangerous runners across the field such as Waisea Vuidravuwalu. Broken field runners like Hugo Bonneval lived up to our expectations with a couple of searing breaks. We know we can’t kick loosely to them and we can’t give them easy possession. Physically, we have definitely got to be on top of our game and really hit them at the gain line there but also keep them out of our 22. If we give them opportunities in there they are going to drive lineouts and their pick and go game is strong too.”
“I think we have to play the game in the right areas but also know that we can attack them with the threats we’ve got. We need to be able to convert the opportunities that we create and establish more possession and more territory, then we will hopefully have a fighting chance.”