There will be a James Haskell-sized hole in Wasps’ back-row this weekend for their clash with Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena but Elliot Daly is far more interested in their opponents’ absentees.
Tickets for Wasps next match at the Ricoh Arena against Harlequins on Sunday 15th February can be purchased at the Ricoh Arena, online by visiting the Wasps website www.wasps.co.uk or by calling the Wasps ticket line on 0844 847 1867 or via Ticketmaster website www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wasps
Quins and their former London rivals Wasps are currently locked in a tight battle for the top four in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season and the clash this Sunday could prove decisive.
Dai Young’s Wasps sit fourth in the table but Quins in seventh are only two points behind while Exeter Chiefs, Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks are all in the mix as well.
With the Six Nations ongoing, internationals rob nearly every side in the league of at least one player but Quins are hit harder than most.
The likes of Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown, Nick Easter and Joe Marler are all going to be wearing the white of England at Twickenham on Saturday, stretching Conor O’Shea and Quins resources.
And while Wasps’ skipper and talisman Haskell will also be missing, Daly knows that now is the time for he and his teammates to strike.
“Hask is a massive leader and will be a big loss for the team,” said the 22-year-old.
“But we have a lot of senior leaders in this team who can step up and take on the responsibility.
“That’s something we have spoken about this week as a team, being ready to take on a bit more responsibility.
“Quins have got a massive squad with great strength in depth but they have got quite a few top-class first-team players out.
“If the boys perform as we have been doing we know we can get the win in front of our home fans.
“The game against Quins this weekend is so important. They are in seventh and we are in fourth and yet there are only two points between us.
“We have played each other three times already and they have won twice and we have won once so it would be good to even things up.”
Quins and Wasps have been involved in some crunch clashes this season so far, not least their most recent when Wasps’ superb backs-to-the-wall defensive showing stole a win at the Stoop that ended up proving vital in qualification for the Champions Cup quarter-finals.
This time around the Ricoh Arena is the venue and Daly is hoping to use that as inspiration for a strong showing that could cement their spot in the top six.
“It has been absolutely awesome at the Ricoh, the numbers and the atomosphere has been great and we really feel that is our home,” he added.
“We put in a big defensive shift against Quins and that victory was great for us and started a good run of form for the team.
“Quins are a very dangerous team so we know that we have to be on our game defensively but if we can stop them scoring early then we can do well.
“The top six is our main goal, anything other than that would be a bonus really.
“For the next month we will give it everything, it’s a massive period for the club, and then we can see where we are at.”
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