Josh Bassett pulled on the Wasps’ skipper’s armband for the first time last week – now he would like nothing better than to lead his side to glory in front of their own fans at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final.
Bassett and an experienced side – including New Zealand flyer Frank Halai and former Scotland centre Nick De Luca – safely negotiated Group B at Sandy Park to set up their Ricoh Arena homecoming.
It was not all plain sailing as Exeter Chiefs beat them in the final game to top the standings, but Bassett insists Wasps learned some important lessons that will stand them in good stead for the Ricoh showpiece.
But the 24-year-old, who scored two Aviva Premiership Rugby tries from six games last season, says a raucous home crowd will be the biggest difference-maker on Sunday August 7.
“It’s always great just to put on a Wasps' shirt, let alone be captain,” said the wing. “To run out with the boys was great and there were some experienced players out there with some younger boys shining through.
“Frank Halai and Nick De Luca have both played in the World 7s Series, so I was mainly looking to delegate but add a few things that I thought were valid and try to push the team on.
“The Ricoh is our new home and they’ve embraced us with open arms in that area. Now we’re training in Coventry hopefully we can get as much support as we can.
“With the carnival theme it should be a big party and we can start the season how we want to.”
A taste of silverware would be the perfect way for Wasps to pick up from where they left off in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season, having returned to the semi-finals for the first time since winning the competition in 2008.
They ended their campaign with a loss to Exeter Chiefs – but Bassett is adamant Wasps won’t be caught cold by the Sandy Park outfit second time around should they meet again at the Ricoh Arena next Sunday.
“Exeter had been doing a lot of work on their restarts, we tried to negate that as much as we could but they are good at that,” added Bassett after their defeat to the Chiefs last weekend.
“Unfortunately for us we slipped off a few tackles towards the end and they managed to sneak over, but hopefully when we go up to the Ricoh it will be a different story.
“It’s always good to get on the pitch and wearing the Wasps' jersey is what it’s all about – after a hard block of pre-season we all want to get out and play some rugby. We’ve targeted the Singha 7s to hit the ground running.”
Eight teams will play for the first silverware of the season in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals from 2pm at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. Click here for tickets.
Quarter Final 1 – Cardiff Blues v Sale Sharks
Quarter Final 2 – Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
Quarter Final 3 – Harlequins v Wasps
Quarter Final 4 – Newcastle Falcons v Ospreys