Simpson: Amlin Cup can set us off on trophy run again

Joe Simpson takes on the Gloucester defence

Joe Simpson takes on the Gloucester defence

First published in Sport by

JOE Simpson has played 127 times for Wasps, but not one of those games has ended with him lifting a trophy.

That is something he is hell-bent on rectifying – starting with this season’s Amlin Challenge Cup.

Wasps are three games from European glory and after two quarter-final defeats in the last two years, Simpson believes it’s time they took their chance.

He said: “Every player is desperate to win trophies and I’m no different. I’ll be devastated if I end my career without a trophy and I won’t be happy if I just win one or two.

“This club has got a magnificent history and we need to be challenging for silverware again. This is an opportunity to start us off again.”

But the 25-year-old insists it must be just a start.

He said: “It’s a good starting point and a good competition. It’s not the best competition by any stretch of the imagination; we want to be in the Heineken Cup and Premiership finals.

“We’re still growing as a team and hopefully that’s where we’ll be in a few years time.

“But at the moment the Amlin is a realistic prospect and it’s something we’re taking very seriously.”

Simpson was at his best against Saracens last weekend, with two cutting line breaks catching the eye and prompting more England questions after the match.

And with Christian Wade and Tom Varndell absent, the onus on him to provide an individual spark increases.

But while the sight of Simpson tearing into open ground behind a defence is one of the most exciting in English rugby, the scrum half says that’s not his primary role.

He said: “My chief responsibility is to provide a fast tempo. I’m not in the team to make breaks, I’m in the team to speed the game up and that suits us and suits me.

“I consider my chief job to be busy and energetic and give the team speed around the park from breakdown to breakdown.

“Breaks here and there are a massive bonus for the team and if they come close to the ruck you get quite a lot of gains and the team can benefit.

“I was pleased with my performance against Sarries but I’m not expecting to make two clean breaks again this weekend.

“But if I can threaten around the rucks then the space will open up out wide and my job is done.”

Wasps host Gloucester in the last eight on Sunday and the winners will be at home again in the semi-finals as well.

Simpson said: “Playing at home is a massive advantage. Every team finds it easier playing at home and we’re no different.

“It’s a massive bonus but if we don’t win on Sunday then we won’t have a home semi-final so we can’t look ahead to that.

“We just need to turn up on Sunday and do a job. Gloucester are playing well so it’s two teams who will be going gung-ho at each other.”

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