Wasps lock James Cannon admits he’s looking to put in an improved performance when he visits former club Northampton Saints in the LV= Cup on Saturday.
Cannon has found Aviva Premiership Rugby chances hard to come by this season, making just four appearances in total for Wasps.
The 26-year-old, though, did start the thrilling 45-42 defeat to Cardiff Blues last time out in the LV= Cup, a result which leaves Wasps’ chances of progressing from Pool 3 hanging by a thread.
The Ricoh Arena outfit face Saints this Saturday knowing nothing but a victory will do if they are to make the semi-finals.
And Cannon – who spent his formative years at Franklin’s Gardens before joining Wasps in 2010 – says he has something of a point to prove.
“It was certainly good to get a run out last weekend, and I’m looking forward to the same again hopefully on Saturday,” said Cannon.
“The only thing you can do is play as well as possible and put your hand up for selection.
“Every player wants to play every week, but you have to play your way into the team.
“I have another opportunity this weekend against a very good Northampton Saints side – and Franklin’s Gardens is one of the hardest places to go.
“The loss against Cardiff was a great game for the neutral, but obviously we came out on the wrong side of the result. The attacking side of things was very good, but the defensive side wasn’t.
“The defence coach (Brad Davis) said it wasn’t acceptable, and I think we all agreed with that as it wasn’t up to our usual standards.
“The immediate feeling was one of embarrassment, we let the game get away from us but full credit must go to Cardiff.”
While things didn’t quite go to plan for Cannon and co against the Welsh side, another Wasp will be looking to make an impression in Cardiff this Friday – England’s James Haskell in the opening match of the Six Nations.
The flanker is the sole Wasps representative in the Red Rose team to play at the Millennium Stadium and Cannon has no doubts the 29-year-old will shine.
“I’m really looking forward to watching the England-Wales game,” added Cannon, part of the England Under-20s Grand Slam-winning squad of 2008.
“James has had a fantastic start to the year and has certainly been one of the in-form back rows in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.
“It’s a big stage, but I’ve no doubts James can perform and he’s peaking at just the right time in my opinion.”
And whatever the result against Northampton this weekend, Cannon says Wasps must return to winning ways at the Ricoh Arena as soon as possible.
The next clash scheduled to take place in Coventry is against Harlequins in Aviva Premiership Rugby on Sunday February 15 and Cannon already has an eye on the clash.
“It’s vitally important we get back to winning ways at the Ricoh,” he continued. “One of the most frustrating things about the loss against Cardiff was that it was the first defeat we’ve had there.
“It was disappointing, but we’ve still got a record to defend in Aviva Premiership Rugby and in Europe, and we’re keen to build on that against Quins next time out.”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.