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The Big Interview: Wasps forward Gabriel Oghre on axe-throwing, hookers and Lions

The Big Interview: Wasps forward Gabriel Oghre on axe-throwing, hookers and Lions

As a hooker, Gabriel Oghre might have fancied his chances of being the best axe-thrower during Wasps’ pre-season bonding sessions but the youngster admits it was an unlikely candidate who stole the show.

The hookers might be used to throwing darts but instead it was close friend and winger Marcus Watson who caught the eye.

Oghre explained: “We’ve done a lot of team activities, we went to Go Ape and did some axe-throwing which was a really good day out. Axe-throwing is harder than it looks!

“Surprisingly Marcus Watson was quite good. I tried to take a video of him messing up and he hit it in the bullseye which I was gutted about.

“You’d think the hookers would be good at it, but not quite!”

As well as the axe-throwing, the Wasps players have also spent time in escape rooms and playing laser tag as they try to bed in a host of new recruits over the summer.

Oghre, meanwhile, has been working hard as he bids to increase his game time in what he readily admits is one of deepest groups of hookers in Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

He said: “There is a pathway there for me and support is available. So I just want to play as much as possible and do everything I can to make that happen.

“I’ve been looking at my involvements in the game, trying to increase my touches in attack. I see that as a strength of mine, I’d look to be on the ball a bit more in good positions. That’s something I’ve been working on quite a bit in pre-season.

“I’d say we’re a club with some of the best if not the best hookers in the league, Tommy Taylor, Tom Cruse and Ashley Johnson, they are all great players and it’s a blessing to be able to learn off them.

“It makes it that much harder to get into the team but it’s a competition and that is sport.

“They are all very accommodating, any time you ask questions they are willing to help and they are happy to let you swap in and get reps. Everyone is happy to work together to the main team goal.”

As well as the experience of Taylor, Johnson and Cruse, former England Under-20s hooker Oghre can also turn to a British & Irish Lion in the shape of Andy Titterrell, who is on the coaching team at the Ricoh Arena.

And the 22-year-old believes that work is already starting to pay off.

He added: “One of the best things at Wasps is the coaches. Andy Titterrell has been massive for me so far in my career, helping me with my lineouts.

“That was a great surprise when I came to Wasps (from Bath).

“He works very hard on the technical aspects, repeating the skills so that it becomes a habit. It’s all about getting those reps in so you can get the hands in the right positions and get used to how the ball should come out of your hands.

“He always has time to throw with me every day, which is great when you imagine how much a coach has to do every day. He’s always there. Andy was a hooker as well so it’s always good to talk to someone who has been through the same experiences as you.”

With Titterrell as a mentor, not to mention a full pre-season to hone his trade, this could be the season that Oghre goes from talented prospect to and important cog in the Wasps first team squad.

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