ALFIE BARBEARY insists Wasps need to be “careful” against an in-form London Irish side ahead of their Boxing Day clash at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
Wasps return to Gallagher Premiership action after their European Champions Cup match against Toulouse was postponed last weekend due to the new travel restrictions between the UK and France.
Barbeary scored in Wasps previous European clash against Munster having also touched down on his return from a long injury lay-off against Gloucester last month.
And the 21-year-old is pleased to be back out on the field and feels he has matured as a player following his spell on the sidelines.
Barbeary said: “It’s been good to finally get some consistency and a bit of game time, I’ve been maturing in terms of how my body reacts to different things.
“I’ve got a greater understanding of what I can and can’t do and just what I can do to keep myself on the pitch for as long as possible and not have any soft tissue setbacks.
“I’ve got to be careful with everything that’s going around with Covid and testing, it’s about keeping the Boxing Day game as much as a priority as possible.
“Christmas is massive for everyone, player safety comes first, were all trying our hardest to remain Covid free, I don’t think anybody is too fussed about having a lateral flow every day.”
Wasps are on a six-game losing run in all competitions and Barbeary is expecting another tough match against a London Irish side who have won their last four matches.
Barbeary added: “I think London Irish are a very dangerous side, they’re one of the top scorers in the Premiership in terms of tries, we’ve got to be careful there.
“They’re a good attacking team, they’re a bit similar to us, it should be a really good game, hopefully it will be a nice Christmas get together for my family, they haven’t been to the CBS too many times.
“I’m a very competitive person, I didn’t want to come off against Munster, my hamstring was tight, it was the right decision in the end, I was just excited to play rugby.
“We’ve come close, we’re missing opportunities and as much as were getting very close results it isn’t really good enough, I’m just happy to be back involved and helping the lads out in any way I can.”
And Barbeary opened up on his decision to focus on playing in the back-row rather than hooker.
He said: “Right now, I’m going to focus on the back-row, that’s where I can do the best for Lee [Blackett] and Wasps.
“I was enjoying where I was playing and Lee said ‘we think you could be a great back-row at Wasps’ I hadn’t really played at hooker for a while.
“It got to the point where I’d played more at back-row and was getting in the team, I was enjoying the freedom a lot more at back-row, hopefully it’s the right decision.
“I’m pretty happy with the decision that I’ve made.”
Wasps host London Irish on Boxing Day (Sunday, December 26) with kick-off at 3pm at the CBS Arena.