JEFFERY Toomaga-Allen was “stoked” after making his 50th Wasps appearance last weekend but admitted Sunday’s game with Harlequins could not be much tougher.
Toomaga-Allen brought up half a century of appearances for Wasps in their 27-17 win at Bath last time out having joined the club for the beginning of the 2019/20 season.
And the New Zealand prop’s 51st Wasps appearance is expected to come against defending champions Harlequins at the CBS Arena on Sunday afternoon.
However, whilst Toomaga-Allen is anticipating a tough match this weekend he was stoked to have reached a milestone in Wasps colours and hopes to play in many more games to come.
Toomaga-Allen said: “It’s going to be a tough one, it always is – we’re looking forward to it.
“Coming off the back of such a great season, the depth they have in their team – they’re crazy good – talent across the board, they have threats everywhere.
“Hopefully, we’re doing the right prep and doing the right analysis to give ourselves a shot at winning.
“I didn’t even know – I knew it was coming up – I’m stoked to have racked up 50 appearances for the club.
“It’s such an honour to play 50 games for the same club and be trusted to play those game – hopefully I can get a few more under the belt.”
Victory for Lee Blackett’s side ended a run of two successive defeats and Toomaga-Allen believes the win was crucial for his side’s belief in future matches.
Toomaga-Allen added: “As ruthless as it sounds – we had to pounce on the opportunity – Bath have had a lot of narrow losses and we knew they would want to fight back.
“Going there and getting the win in Bath is a big accomplishment for the boys – it’s really good for our belief and belief in our systems.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have – we were very rough – we’ve been in their position ourselves, you’ve just got to throw the kitchen sink at the team that’s coming.
“Bath are strong at home, the fans are close to the field, I copped a bit of banter but I love it, I thrive off it.”
Despite losing both Dan Robson and Jimmy Gopperth to injury at the Recreation Ground – Toomaga-Allen feels the squad’s character is more than capable of dealing with the club’s current injury crisis.
He said: “Our injuries don’t matter – a lot of the injured boys would play if they were allowed, that shows a lot of heart and determination and a lot of character.
“There has been big shifts in our culture to develop a gritty team, a bunch of battlers – people say we’re not the biggest forward pack, that’s good we’ve got a chip on our shoulder.
“We’re fighting each other in training – we’ve got to transfer that to the opposition – competition is good and Lee’s done really well to drive that this year.
“We’re competing with each other to make each other better which I love.
“There’s not many vocals – it’s more action – our skipper Brad doesn’t need to say anything, you look at what he does – actions speak louder than words, it just transfers to what we want to do.
“‘Bomber’ wears his heart on his sleeve, throwing his whole body at everything – that makes me want to do it, I want to one-up him in the training or in the game.
The former Hurricanes man picked up a cap for the All Blacks against Japan in 2013 and feels it should be easier for players to switch their allegiance to another country – with the tighthead also able to represent Samoa through his mother.
He added: “My mum is full Samoan – before I became professional I changed my last name to represent both side’s of my family, that’s why my name is so long.
“If the opportunity came up, I’d love to put my hand up and play [for Samoa] – if it gave me a shot at playing at the World Cup, I’d play the best that I could.
“It’s such a great opportunity to give back to my culture and give back to the younger generation coming up – there’s so much young talent out there.
“It could pave a pathway for many young people to earn a bit of coin and give back to their families and develop their villages or where they’re from.
“100 percent [it should be easier to play for another nation] – if you’ve had one or two caps or have been out of the international scene for a while then why not?
“Given you’re playing well and well enough to play internationally and you’re available to play for that country then why not?”
Wasps host Harlequins on Sunday, November 7 with kick-off at the CBS Arena at 4:30pm.
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.