Sirker eyes route to Wasps first team via Premiership Rugby Cup
After the rampant success of last season’s inaugural Premiership Rugby Cup, Wasps youngster Callum Sirker is certain that the competition’s sophomore year will be in no danger of any second-season-syndrome.
The reformatted competition is scheduled to open up this season’s domestic rugby, with the campaign shuffled around to fit in Rugby World Cup commitments, the group stages to be played out in a block from September 20 to October 12, before the knockouts return in the new year.
And Sirker, into his second year with Dai Young’s side after moving across from the England 7s set-up, believes that there is no better way to put yourself in the reckoning for a long-term starting berth.
“The cup is a really good way of pushing for a Premiership place, and that’s exactly what we aim to do,” he said.
“Everyone at Wasps wants to put the badge on every weekend, no matter what competition it is, so the Cup is just another opportunity to continue wearing that shirt week-in, week-out.
“I’ve grafted through this pre-season and at the moment it’s about taking it day-by-day and with the World Cup season, it presents opportunities for us lads that are pushing forwards.
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“The focus is on continuous hard work here, and if I get my opportunity either in the sevens or the Premiership Rugby Cup, then I’ll take that.
“When Dai gives me my opportunity, it’s my choice whether I take it or not, and I’m going to give it my all to grasp that opportunity.”
Returning to Wasps at the start of last season after two years with England 7s, the speedy winger found his readjustment difficult at times as he adapted back to life with 30 men on a pitch.
But with a year of XVs under his belt, the 21-year-old is older, and wiser as to what is required if he is to make an impact this year.
“Coming from a 7s background, I needed to sharpen my understanding of XVs,” he admitted.
“You can’t run sideways and score five tries a game! Sevens is a great pathway and I loved my time there, but one thing I realised is that it’s not the same kind of game.
“There’s a different way of playing XVs and it took some time to understand that, but it clicked in the end and now I feel really comfortable with where I’m at.
“Now I’m just focusing on sharpening my tools, working on my trade and hopefully will push on from here.
“Probably the main thing was the physicality of the XVs game. In 7s I could arguably say that I am a bigger guy, but in XVs I’m certainly not.
“There are huge men in this game, and you’ve got to work in the contact, work through tackles.
“It’s a different game and you’ve got to practice stuff like that, work on close evasion skills, and hopefully that will pay dividends in the season.
“You’ve got to have that will and determination to go forward for the team, because if you get put on the back foot it puts everyone on the back foot.
“If you’re not going forward then you’re not helping the team out, and that’s a good way of thinking about it, because at Wasps we’re all about team first.”