Vellacott: Teams will be out to get Wasps after Premiership Rugby 7s start
Ben Vellacott admits Wasps will have a target on their back after blowing away the competition to sail into the quarter-finals of the Premiership Rugby 7s at Franklin’s Gardens.
Last year’s beaten finalists produced two performances that were as eye-catching as their bright yellow shirts as they defeated Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers on Friday night.
They racked up an incredible 98 points en route to topping Pool B with two bonus-point victories, running riot as they romped to 50-5 and 48-5 successes over their opponents.
And having laid down a marker to the rest of their last eight rivals, Vellacott conceded that their quest for a third Premiership Rugby 7s crown will only get tougher in the knockout phase.
Day Two fixtures
Cup quarter-final 1 – Wasps v Leicester Tigers, 2.30pm
Cup quarter-final 2 – Bristol Bears v Harlequins, 2.53pm
Cup quarter-final 3 – Saracens v London Irish, 3.15pm
Cup quarter-final 4 – Exeter Chiefs v Worcester Warriors, 3.38pm
Plate semi-final 1 – Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby, 4pm
Plate semi-final 2 – Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby, 4.23pm
“Obviously we want to win it but there are some really strong squads out there, so hopefully we turn up in good speed and put in a good performance like we did,” he said.
“I think we have put a target on our backs and I think with the squad that we named, teams are going to be out to get us and we can’t get too ahead of ourselves.
“It was a great start for us and at the moment we just want to keep on focusing on each game as it comes. Going into the Bath game we just wanted to focus on that.
“We just wanted to put in a good performance – which we did – and likewise against Leicester Tigers. We had a shaky first-half start but we have a good squad.
“We can back our boys coming off the bench to make a good impact. With the squad we’ve got, we’ve got pace to burn and we’ve got some very talented players.”
Among those showing their support for the Coventry-based side from the sidelines was senior Wasps star Marcus Watson, an Olympic silver medallist for Great Britain in sevens.
Watson has previously won the Premiership Rugby 7s title with Wasps and former club Saracens – and Vellacott revealed the 28-year-old has been a key figure in the tournament build-up.
“With a man of Marcus’ experience, with the Olympics and his background, he’s someone you want to have as a coach and he’s had a heavy influence in how we played,” he said.
“He’s been very trust-worthy in terms of getting the players to do what they want and backing themselves. I’m sure he would love to get his boots on himself.
“I think he was envious of the boys when we were training in the week and he wanted to be out there with us. We just have to back ourselves and back each other.”
Scrum-half Vellacott was also delighted to finally be able to run out in the Wasps shirt for the first time in Northampton, having joined his new club from Gloucester Rugby in the summer.
“It’s been a long 17 weeks and all we’ve been doing is training, training, training, so to actually put on a shirt for the first time was a dream come true to be honest,” Vellacott added.
“I can finally say I feel part of the Wasps’ family now and I just want to keep building from there. As I keep saying, we just want to focus on each game and we’ll recover well.
“The squad got announced last week and it just happened my name was on the sheet, but I always relish playing 7s to be honest, whenever I get the chance I always put my hand up.”