Alex Rieder grew up watching the Wasps sides of years gone by lifting silverware and dominating Europe and – after inking a new deal at the Ricoh – the back row is hoping those days are finally back.
The 25-year-old joined Wasps ahead of the 2015/16 campaign and has made 24 appearances for the club, including 17 appearances already this season as Wasps have coped admirably with the absence of the likes of James Haskell, Sam Jones and Nathan Hughes.
He was a key figure in last week’s bonus-point 35-22 win over Gloucester Rugby that lifted them six points clear at the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
With a European quarter-final in Dublin against Leinster still to come, former Rotherham Titan Rieder is loving life in the top flight.
And after this weekend signing a new contract with Dai Young’s side – the versatile flanker is hopeful this is the year they lift some silverware for the first time since 2008 – not including the Premiership Sevens Series.
“It’s very exciting and a great honour to play for Wasps. When I first started out Wasps were the top side in the country with legends like Lawrence Dallaglio playing for them,” he said.
“It was a dream to play for them and now it’s a dream come true to be here and have this opportunity.
“Injuries are part of the game – you have to take your opportunity when it comes. There’s no point moaning – you have to make sure you are ready to step up and put your body on the line to help the boys.
“This year I have got a lot more game time and as a club we are pushing for silverware.
“If it was not for my form – this club is so high profile they could have got someone in to the club.
But Dai was confident in me.
“Internally at the club, with the standards we have got and the calibre of player, we all want to win silverware. That’s why we are here, that is obviously the ultimate goal and why we are working so hard.
“But if we keep working hard year on year and are pushing hard towards the top end of the table then we have got be happy. We are not saying it has to happen this time around.”
A product of the Yorkshire Carnegie Academy, the hard-hitting Rieder came through at Headlingley before cutting his teeth in the ‘gritty environment’ of Rotherham Titans in the Greene King IPA Championship.
And now he lines up alongside world-class talent like Willie le Roux, Kurtley Beale and Danny Cipriani every week.
But that does not mean he ever gets complacent.
“Of course you learn so much from these guys in the squad, George (Smith) last year was absolutely phenomenal and this year there are global super stars all over the pitch,” he added.
— Alex Rieder (@AlexRieder1) February 26, 2017
“But the league is so strong – every team is improving. Just look at last week with Gloucester – who are not even in the top six – pushing us so hard while Bristol beat Bath.
“We have to keep working hard for the wins – both home and away – so that we avoid a situation where we are still fighting for the play-off positions in the last games rather than already there. The sooner we can get in the better.”