JOE Carlisle says he’s ready to step into the ten jersey full time after leaving behind a shaky start to his Wasps career with his best game for the black and golds last weekend.
The 26-year-old was drafted into the front line after Andy Goode pulled up with a knee injury the day before the match, and after going toe to toe with Harlequins’ Nick Evans Carlisle believes he’s now ready to pull the strings for Wasps full time.
He said: “It was my best performance for Wasps against a decent side, no offence to a couple of European teams. But Harlequins are a very good side and it was a step in the right direction.
“There are still plenty and plenty of things to work on and it’s always difficult to look at your own performance when you don’t win as a team, but a few things went my way. I managed to play in the right areas for the majority of the game and personally, I was reasonably happy.
“It was good to get the chance to put a small marker down and show what I can do.”
The match was Carlisle’s fourth start in a row and there is no doubt he has taken his opportunity during the past month, with his performances improving almost week on week after admitting his Wasps career got off to a less than auspicious start.
He said: “It took me a while to find my feet when I arrived. I was pretty frustrated that I wasn’t training or playing as well as I’d have liked. I’m not sure what the difficulty was and it still frustrates me now looking back.
“But it’s behind me now and the last month or so I seem to have really found my feet. As a ten, the more you play the more you build confidence within the team.
“It really is just a case of being as consistent as I can throughout the 80 minutes. It builds your confidence when you know you’re going to get a game at the weekend and the one after. I’ve been lucky that they’ve kept coming in the last few weeks.
“I’ve enjoyed putting on the shirt regularly and hopefully I can keep doing that until the end of the season and hopefully I can keep improving.”
Goode will take some shifting, however. He’s second in the all-time list of Premiership points scorers and there aren’t many situations on a rugby field that he hasn’t seen before.
Carlisle said: “He’s a great friend of mine and I’ve learnt a lot from over the last few years. I’ve always preferred to run with it than kick it, but watching Andy week in, week out and seeing how he controls a game has been great for me and hopefully the more I play the more my game management will get better, which I think it has in the last month.
“I support him when he’s playing and likewise when I’m playing. It works well. But I’m trying to pinch the ten shirt off him.
“He is a great player, but I do think I can offer a lot as well. You’ve got to back yourself. If you don’t then you’re in the wrong job and I do think I’m ready to take his shirt.”