26th Sep, 2018

Jimmy Gopperth - Wasps players relishing the task ahead as business end of the season draws near

RUGBY UNION: JIMMY Gopperth insists the feel good factor is well and truly evident at Wasps, with the players relishing the chance to ensure this is a season to remember.

With just three months of the campaign remaining, Dai Young’s side are strongly positioned both in the Aviva Premiership and remain in Europe too.

They are currently on track for a home semi-final by virtue of their top two placing in the league, while on the opening day of April they will take on Leinster in their European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final.

It has been a long time since Wasps last lifted major silverware – the league title in 2008 – but that could all change this year.

The team are by far the highest points scorers in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season although Gopperth believes it is the blend of youthful experience which is their biggest weapon.

“There’s a really good mood in the club at the minute, we’re well ahead of where we want to be at this stage of the season,” he said.

“We know that the RBS Six Nations is a big period for us, last year it was that timeframe that made us make the semi-finals so we need to try and repeat that over the next few weeks.

“We know we’ve got some big games coming up but we’re all excited.

“Everyone is keeping fit and healthy and really pushing for places, which is going to make performances high.

“We are a very young squad to be honest. You can count the number of people on one hand who are over 30 in our group.

“There is a lot of youth, that sort of youth has been with Wasps for a long time – your Joe Launchbury’s, your Elliot Daly’s, Sam Jones.

“They have been within this environment for a long time. They’re young but they’ve also got a lot of experience themselves.

“I think the balance is very good, the squad really works well together. I think we’re seeing that on the field.”

Wasps reached the Premiership semi-finals before falling to eventual runners up Exeter Chiefs away from home last season.

And while they are in pole position for a home play-off spot this time around, Gopperth knows a lot can happen between now and then, especially considering how competitive the league has proved this season.

“Last year was a big stepping stone,” he added. “With the World Cup last year, teams had to get stronger squads as a whole. At one stage, there was one or two points separating fourth and ninth.

“This year has really kicked on. You look at Bristol and they struggled but they’ve really kicked on now. Newcastle are doing brilliantly this year.

“I think it’s really good. A lot of teams are buying into an open style of rugby. This year has been a very tough and a very exciting Aviva Premiership Rugby so far.”

<b><i>Wasps are proud to support Aviva, title sponsor of Premiership Rugby, on their #DriveSafer campaign and help raise awareness of dangerous driving. Download the Aviva Drive app to see how safe your driving is at www.aviva.co.uk/car-insurance/drive </i></b>

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