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Mullan and Wasps braced for European do-or-die

Matt Mullan admits nothing less than victory at the Stoop will do if Wasps are to keep their European Rugby Champions Cup adventure alive this weekend.

The England prop has been a cornerstone of the Wasps side that qualified for the competition via last season’s two-legged playoff with Stade Francais and recorded back-to-back wins over Castres Olympique last month to stay in the hunt for the quarter-finals.

Back in Aviva Premiership Rugby, two crushing home wins since moving to the Ricoh Arena have lifted spirits even higher in the Wasps camp, but they come into Saturday’s clash with Harlequins with something to prove.

As well as seeking to avoid a third defeat to Conor O’Shea’s men this season, Wasps must bounce back from a 39-26 reverse at Bath Rugby last time out.

“To be in this competition and to be hopefully taking it to the opportunity of playing in a quarter-final is amazing,” said Mullan. “We want to be involved in it for as long as possible.

“We fought so hard to get into it that it meant a lot to us – we didn’t just want to be in there to make up the numbers.

“There is a little bit of pressure but that is where we have put ourselves as a group of players. We are trying to be as competitive as we can.

“We have got to win this weekend so all our concentration is firmly on Quins. We have played them twice already this season and had two narrow defeats so we have that to motivate us.”

Mullan conceded Wasps’ display at the Rec last Saturday was well below what they have come to expect, finding themselves 39-12 down after 65 minutes.

However, a late rally and two converted tries inside the final ten minutes salvaged a bonus point and provided some useful impetus heading into Europe.

Mullan added: “We were not really at the races for the first 40 minutes and we got a bit of a stern talking to at half-time – just that we weren’t really doing ourselves justice.

“I’m not sure you can put it down to anything in particular. If you are a little bit off, then you are going to get caught out against anyone.

“Our attacking game has been going well recently but the problem was that we just didn’t hold onto the ball long enough.

“We are on quite a high, with five good weeks before the Bath game, and hopefully we can continue that and keep improving.”

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