SAM Wolstenholme feels “honoured” to captain Wasps in their Premiership Rugby Cup clash with Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park this weekend.
The scrum-half has found his opportunities limited this season but will be given a chance to shine in the cup – taking on a leadership role in the absence of several first-team players.
Still only 22-years-old – Wolstenholme arrived at the club from Yorkshire Carnegie in the Summer of 2019 and scored his first Wasps try in the cup against Sale Sharks.
Wolstenholme insists the team are fully focused on winning the clash and is proud to be leading out the side on Saturday afternoon.
Wolstenholme said: “I’m captaining this weekend – I had to lead the meeting on Monday – I didn’t know until Wednesday morning.
“I’m quite honoured, proud – Wasps is a huge club – the Premiership Cup is a competitive tournament, to be able to captain Wasps in that is a real honour and a real privilege.
“It’s a combination of you want to try and lead by example, you want to play well, you want to drive lads on and you want to bring the younger lads along and make sure they feel comfortable and confident – don’t overcomplicate it.
“The mindset of the team is we want to go and get the win, as a club that’s in the forefront of our mind every time we play.
“From a personal point of view – there’s an opportunity there if I go and play well to put my hand up for selection after the Premiership Cup but we’ve still got a job to do on Saturday.”
The young back feels this weekend’s clash represents a big opportunity to make an impression as he looks to stand out amongst the club’s other scrum-halves.
Wolstenholme added: “It’s a massive opportunity for me – I’ve not been involved recently – playing this weekend, get some minutes under my belt, hopefully perform well and put my hand up for selection going back into the Premiership and Europe.
“Every player wants to play but we’ve got four good scrum-halves at the club – we’ve got great strength in depth in that area – Dan [Robson] is injured now unfortunately, he’s number one.
“Then you’ve got [Francois] Hougaard, myself and Will Porter battling it out for second place – Hougaard has loads of experience and Ports has been playing really well.
“I’ve just not been in favour at the minute, that’s not in my control, what’s in my control is doing everything I can in training, working hard and pushing the lads on.
“Hopefully, if I take my opportunity, things will change – you’ve just got to bide your time and be patient and know that your time will come.”
And Wolstenholme is excited to take to the field in Newcastle – having trained with other players set to be involved in the upcoming fixtures over the last two weeks.
He added: “Some of the boys have got a bit of time off – the lads who are in are really enthusiastic and can’t wait for the weekend ahead, it’s a really good opportunity for us, it’s really upbeat and positive.
“It’s really exciting – we’ve been training as a group for the past couple of weeks running against the first-team and we’ve been showing some really promising signs.
“It can be quite demoralising not playing – you can’t expect to always be playing – you’ve got to get into a headspace where this is part and parcel of it, it’s how you react to that.
“You can either whinge and moan about it – that probably won’t help you – or you can realise the situation and get on with it and that will put you in a better place so when you get your opportunity you take it.”
Wasps travel to Newcastle on Saturday, November 13 with kick-off at 3pm at Kingston Park.