Matt Mullan applauded Wasps’ ambitious recruitment of Kurtley Beale, but urged his teammates to give outgoing duo Charles Piutau and George Smith the send-off they deserve against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.
Wasps were boosted by the news that 60-cap Wallaby Beale would join from next season, but with hugely influential pairing Smith and Piutau departing, Mullan believes Dai Young’s side should concentrate on honouring their joint contribution
Young’s men travel to Sandy Park for a first Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final since being crowned champions in 2008 and face an in-form Chiefs side that ran in ten tries against Harlequins last time out.
Wasps have won four of five previous Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals and despite the motivation to replicate their illustrious forebears, Mullan thinks the desire to repay Piutau and Smith is equally potent.
“There’s lots of different types of motivation for this weekend and one of them is that we have players who have performed brilliantly for us that will be leaving at some point – Charles, but also George,” England international Mullan said.
“We know how much they have given to the club, how much they have helped us, but it is not just about those individuals – the best thing about the group this year, is that everybody across the entire squad has worked incredibly hard to help us get to this position.
“The focus at the moment is solely on trying to produce the best performance that we can for that day.”
Beale’s signature represents another formidable addition to Wasps’ back-line and though Mullan knows that the players can do little to influence recruitment, he admits it is pleasing to see the club continuing to develop.
Wasps won four Aviva Premiership Rugby titles in six years between 2002 and 2008 and versatile front-rower Mullan is aware that a sustained influx of such high-quality players could presage a return to those heady-days.
“If you can attract players of Kurtley Beale’s calibre, then the club is obviously doing something right and that is the biggest boost,” he added.
“It won’t affect us in the short term, it won’t come in until this game has been and gone, so I don’t think it will help this week, but it is just nice knowing that the club is constantly striving to improve and that we’re looking to attract top-end players
“As players, recruitment is obviously out of our hands, but it is nice to know that the club are pushing for top end players and the club becomes more attractive to people outside of the group.
“And if we can continue to attract those top-end players, then it is only going to help us perform on the pitch.”
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final