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Simpson: Wasps adding fortitude to flair

Wasps may have turned on the flair to cap a dream start to life at the Ricoh Arena, but Joe Simpson insists his side have added a vital steel core to their panache this season.

The scrum-half scored the pick of the tries as the hosts crossed over four times in total and Andy Goode scored an Aviva Premiership Rugby record 33 points to secure a 48-16 victory over London Irish last weekend.

Yet with the score finely poised at 18-16 at the interval, Simpson believes it was the control exerted by the pack and the tactical kicking of veteran fly-half Goode that set up the second-half onslaught.

While Simpson admits that seeing the likes of Tom Varndell and Christian Wade flying across the whitewash is crucial to keep attracting a large home crowd, the scrum-half knows his side cannot neglect the basics.

And under Dai Young’s direction, the 26-year-old is confident that a Wasps side that have flattered to deceive in recent years should secure a top-six place this season.

“We want to bring exciting rugby to Coventry and get people coming back every week who want to watch us play,” he said.

“We accomplished step one of that last weekend and it was great to break the home attendance record and Goodey’s record was pretty special to cap off a fantastic day.

“It was a hard-fought game but we managed to blow them way in the second half with superior fire power and our fitness really showed – we had it won by 60 minutes then tired them out.

“We’ve always had that strike power with flair players that can make things happen but at times we've been too reliant on that.

“We need to be consistent at wearing teams down before turning on the afterburners. We need to be an attritional team that breaks opponents down and that is really becoming part of our armoury.

“We have a lot of impressive ball carriers and guys that can run through or around you, which is a feature of all the teams Dai Young has coached in the past.”

The triumph over the Exiles was a special occasion for Simpson himself as he finished a sublime counter attack to score the first try for Wasps at their new home.

Yet the scrum-half insists he had the easiest job of everyone involved, both in the try and all afternoon, playing inside his record-breaking half-back partner Goode.

“It was a great moment but I didn’t do a great deal for my try, I just ran it in,” he added.

“There was a great turnover by Sailosi Tagicakibau and some unbelievable play by Christian Wade in the build so I just had an easy job to dive over.

“We gave Irish nothing and held them out of our 22 and then showed how deadly we can be as a team by turning defence into attack quickly.

“It’s fantastic to play inside someone with Goodey’s experience as it makes my job easier.

“His kicking and running of the game is spectacular. It’s great when you’ve got someone barking at you that really knows the game and it adds that bit of security and confidence to the team.”

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