London Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson says that today’s ‘Stinger Game’ has even more importance than usual, as his team face Gloucester at Twickenham, 3:15pm.
The reason for the extra importance is the significance this fixture has with regard to the final European spot in the Aviva Premiership, with both sides going hammer and tong for seventh spot.
Wasps have had a somewhat disappointing season in the league this year, but Simpson believes they can take a lot of confidence from the amount of close games they have been in this season.
The London-based club have the most bonus points in the league with 11 collected, and Simpson insists that proves his side are not far away.
“We’ve been impressive in Europe this season, but our league form hasn’t been what we have wanted. We’ve had some fantastic matches and some great performances, but we haven’t had enough of them,” Simpson told GiveMeSport.
“Losing out by a couple of kicks or a couple of points on numerous occasions this season has been pretty brutal. It doesn’t feel like it was long ago that we were at Twickenham on the opening day when we hit the post with the potential game-winning kick.
“We’ve had a couple of near misses, and if they had gone our way the league table could be a different story.
“It has been frustrating, and we need to work on our consistency, particularly with the amount of ball that we have coughed up.
“The amount of bonus points we have achieved does give us confidence. It proves that we’re not far away from where we want to be.
“The European place that’s available adds extra impetus for us. It would have been a good game anyway, but now there is just more riding on it.
“Both teams have got great backlines. There are many dangerous players with strike outwide. We know Gloucester have got strength in the backs. The game is going to open up and we’re prepared for that.”
The ‘Stinger Game’ offers up fans the chance to see their team perform on the hallow turf of Twickenham, and Simpson admits his side are looking forward to the occasion.
Naturally any game at the home of English rugby is a massive game. And Wasps have plenty of those still left in the season, with an impressive European run commencing again next week with a Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final match-up against Bath.
Simpson added that ‘The Stinger Game’ will act as excellent preparation for Bath next week.
“Playing at Twickenham on this pitch is something every player looks forward to. It will also be a great game and occasion for the fans,” added Simpson.
“Dealing with the occasion that Twickenham provides will be an important challenge for us with regard to the rest of the season as well.
“We have got some big games coming up after this one as well. And playing in the ‘Stinger Game’ will give us an excellent preparation for the European semi-final next week. But right now we are focused on trying to beat Gloucester.”