La Rochelle to face Ricoh Arena fast-track test says Joe Simpson

Date: 13 Dec 2017

Thanks to the thick carpet of snow at Broadstreet, Dai Young’s squad have done much of their training in the early part of this week in the analysis room and indoors at Warwick University.

But according to scrum half Joe Simpson, this has done nothing to dampen spirits or reduce his teammates’ belief that they can reverse Sunday’s defeat in La Rochelle when les Maritimes make the return trip to the Ricoh Arena seven days on.

“We know we have a massive job to do at the weekend and we are quite looking forward to getting them back on our home patch,” he said.

“We've got some wrongs to right, we know we didn't perform to our full potential and hopefully we can do that on Sunday.

“We thought their legs would go in the last 20 minutes on a heavy pitch, but that didn't happen. We're now hoping their legs go on a fast track at the Ricoh, but we'll see!! If we can't manage that, then thank God we don’t have to play them again this year!”

The experienced No.9 watched the early part of last week’s contest from the bench, prior to grabbing his team’s fourth try after taking over from Dan Robson.

And despite being very impressed by what he saw from the Top 14 leaders, Simpson believes Wasps will be well prepared for what awaits them on Sunday.

“It was a tough day at the weekend, we weren't up to scratch against one of the best teams in Europe and we didn't quite play well enough,” he said.

“But I don't think there are many teams that could have done much more against them; they were so big, so physical, got over the gainline then constantly had that offload threat.

“It helps playing back-to-back because you can see what you did well and tweak that and then see what you did badly and rip that out of your play book.

“We caused one of the top French teams problems on their home patch, on a really boggy pitch which didn't suit us, and scored five tries.

“That should be enough to put you there or thereabouts in terms of winning a match, but our defence just wasn't able to deal with their physical power on that pitch, on that day.

“This time we're going to be slightly more prepared, as we realise what's coming. We're going to tweak a few things and try not to cough up possession cheaply.

“That might be through reducing errors in our game plan, or not kicking the ball away to a big lump that runs it straight back then puts us through 20 or 30 phases.

“So it's going to be a slight edit, we're all excited about the weekend, getting them back on our patch and getting another shot because no one likes to be outclassed, even for brief periods.

“That hasn’t happened for a good few years now, and it is very frustrating, so it's fantastic to have the opportunity to get straight back out there against La Rochelle and have another go.”

Tickets for Sunday's match, which kicks off at 1pm, are available online by clicking the link below, or by phone on 02476 786411.

Prices start at £22 for adults, while under 10s go free in selected areas.