Fixtures - Top Bar

Johnson excited by Wasps’ talented pack

Wasps’ back row may have been at their marauding best against London Welsh, but Ashley Johnson insists it is the front five that deserve the plaudits for the club’s impressive performances this season.

The South African flanker scored a hat-trick and No. 8 Nathan Hughes claimed a double as Dai Young’s side signed off from Adams Park in style with a 71-7 defeat of London Welsh on Sunday.

That triumph made it back-to-back Aviva Premiership Rugby victories for Wasps after their pack also exerted their dominance over Bath Rugby, even though James Gaskell was the only member of the tight five to start both games.

And Johnson believes it is this strength in depth that means he always has a secure platform to make his characteristic surges and is giving Wasps a fearsome pack to match their backline talents.

“It was really special to get a hat-trick but it was really down to the performance of the whole pack because they set me up for each of the tries,” he said.

“I love playing with James Haskell and Nathan Hughes. James does so much unseen work, he’s a pleasure to play with and Nathan has just been immense since joining.

“But the only time we can really dominate is when the front five are on their game. We can try to make an impact without the ball but you are only as good as your front five.

“In the past two seasons that’s an area they have worked really hard to change the impression other teams have of our front five.

“We’re still a work in progress but we all try to get those guys up and ready because they make such a difference at scrum time and throughout the game.”

Despite the clinical manner of their victory over Welsh, Johnson is adamant that the realities of Aviva Premiership Rugby mean there is no time for overt celebration, let alone complacency, as Wasps face Exeter Chiefs this weekend.

And the 28-year-old believes it is crucial his side claim their first away victory of the season at Sandy Park if they are to stay in the hunt for a top-six finish this year.

“With the Premiership, we can take a lot of positive from the Welsh performance but you can never take things for granted as one loss puts you right back down the table,” he added.

“Our away form has not been good enough this year but it’s just the small details sometimes – I’m sure we’ll be a match for any team away if we play to our full potential.

“For us a realistic challenge is to qualify for Europe again by making that top six so we want to achieve nothing less than that otherwise it would be a disappointing season.”

This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

Latest News

Match Reaction: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mark McCall hailed Saracens’ amazing defence after they withstood a first-half assault against Munster and emerged victorious to book a…

Match Report: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Billy Burns scored all of Gloucester Rugby’s points and the Cherry & Whites produced an impressive defensive display to down…

Match Report: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mako Vunipola and Chris Wyles scored vital tries as Saracens booked their place in the European Champions Cup final with…

Saracens ready for titanic Munster challenge

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is expecting little sign of weakness from Munster when the two sides clash in…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals

The semi-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup will be played in front of sell-out crowds in Dublin and Lyon…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals

England name squad for World Rugby U20 Championship

England have named their 28-man squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship taking place in Georgia (31 May – 18…

Saracens include Lions picks for Munster showdown

Saracens have named all six of their recently-selected British & Irish Lions for their European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final clash…

Dave Attwood returns for Bath Rugby’s European semi-final

Dave Attwood will make his comeback from injury as Bath Rugby face Stade Francais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup…

Willi Heinz and Greig Laidlaw return for Gloucester Rugby’s European semi-final

Gloucester Rugby welcome back scrum-halves Willi Heinz and Greig Laidlaw to the matchday squad as they make five changes to…

Archie White re-signs as Josh McNulty joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to announce today (Friday 21st April) that second year Academy Member Archie White has re-signed, while Gloucester…

Archie White

Saracens trio react to England call-ups – Nathan Earle, Nick Isiekwe & Alex Lozowski reaction

Three of Saracens brightest talents could make their international debut this summer, with Nathan Earle joining fellow teammates Alex Lozowski…

Saracens trio react to England call-ups - Nathan Earle, Nick Isiekwe & Alex Lozowski reaction

Jamie George: In-form Owen Farrell can fire Saracens to Aviva Premiership Rugby final once again

Jamie George has every confidence that Owen Farrell can inspire Saracens to go all the way to another Aviva Premiership…

Eddie Jones announces England squad for Argentina tour

Eddie Jones has announced a 31-man squad for England’s two-Test tour to Argentina in June. Dylan Hartley will captain a…

Dylan Hartley

Social media reacts to Premiership Rugby’s 19 Lions

The rise of social media meant it was a Lions squad announcement unlike any other yesterday as players, clubs and…

Delight for young Cranbrook stars as Land Rover Cup win secures Twickenham trip

Just a stone’s throw from England Rugby HQ, Cranbrook U12s sealed an unforgettable trip to Twickenham next month by triumphing…

Broad Plain youngsters set for Twickenham prize after Land Rover Cup triumph

George Keen and his Broad Plain U11s were left overjoyed thanks to Bristol Rugby as they earned a spot for…

Four Sharks To Tour Argentina With England

Four Sale Sharks players have been named in the England Squad for the two test tour of Argentina in June.…

Four Sharks To Tour Argentina With England

The men in the middle for European action this weekend

Experienced French referee Romain Poite will be in charge when Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Saracens take on Munster at the…

Greg Holmes targets home semi-final with Exeter Chiefs

Greg Holmes believes Exeter Chiefs will have to continue to ‘dig deep’ in their quest to secure a home semi-final…

Sandy Park