In 20 years’ time Joe Simpson wants to look back at this weekend’s European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Toulon and have no regrets.
If ever a team had a rough run-in then Wasps’ recent fixtures take some beating –Aviva Premiership Rugby clashes against Saracens and Northampton Saints preceding this weekend’s bout with France’s finest.
However a 52-30 defeat to Saints last time out came with more than a few positives, not least of all a hat-trick from the electric Christian Wade.
The wing is just one of the weapons that Dai Young has at his disposal this weekend and Simpson believes his colleagues have a duty to their future selves to leave everything out on the Stade Mayol field.
“Quite a few players don’t realise how special these matches are until they are gone but a lot of players go their whole careers without playing in a European quarter final,” he said.
“It will be the biggest match in a lot of our players’ careers and we need to make sure we take the bull by the horns.
“When we are 40, 50 or 60 we need to remember this performance and the performance each player gave individually. There is absolutely no added motivation needed for this one.
“We are a strong unit but we also have players who can hurt you in attack and that makes us dangerous.
“I think on his day there are not many better finishers in the game than Christian and he is a nightmare to try and tackle, you can’t get near him.
“He has showed that consistently this season and to get a hat-trick against Saints was huge so we have that in our armoury.
“It’s one thing knowing what players like him are going to do but it’s totally different to try and stop him.”
While recent fixtures might have some running for the exit, Simpson – still just 26 despite his long tenure with Wasps – believes the rigours of recent weeks could prove vital.
“We can’t be resting on our laurels now because we have such a huge match against Toulon but we have an elongated turn around which can work for us,” he added.
“I think the tough games we have had will work in our favour to be honest because we have had some battles and two tough matches.
“I think the scoreline against Saints flattered them and we controlled the match but just let it slip and let a lot of points go in a short space.
“We know we can’t do that against Toulon because they are probably the best side in the world at the moment.
“So we have to be on our mettle for a full 80 minutes and make sure that we are concentrating 100 per cent on what we need to do.
“We are huge underdogs but we have got nothing to lose and all the pressure will be on them in front of their home fans.”
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