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Varndell: This mustn't be a season of should have beens
WINGER Tom Varndell insists The Stinger at Twickenham has taken on extra significance now that Wasps and Gloucester Rugby are competing for the same European play-off spot.
The clash with the Cherry & Whites will come too soon for Varndell, who is making his way back from a bicep tear, but he admits he will be glued to the contest.
Wasps are presently eighth in the Aviva Premiership table, one point behind Exeter Chiefs who are currently in position to play the seventh-place team in the Top14 for a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup next season.
Gloucester are one place and two points behind Wasps in ninth but if results go their way this weekend they could leap into the play-off spot and Varndell admits the race for Europe gives the game an extra edge.
“I’ve seen the Twickenham pitch and it looks in fantastic condition,” he said.
“With 40-50,000 Wasps fans screaming for you, you want to be part of the occasion and playing at Twickenham doesn’t come around often.
“It will be a great occasion for the club and it’s such a shame to be missing it. But it’s been such a shame to miss most of the season.
“With this seventh place play-off coming in for next season’s Heineken Cup, it’s a big game which makes it more exciting.
“If neither team had anything to play for you would say, ‘it’s a great occasion but what are we actually playing for?’
“But now, this is pretty special. Both teams are pretty much level on points and chasing that seventh place and whoever wins this game will take that massive step towards that. So it’s all to play for.”
Wasps finished eighth in the Aviva Premiership and 11th the season before and have not finished in the top four since 2008 – going on to take the title, their last piece of silverware.
However, they have plenty to play for this season with the race for seventh and an Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final to come against Bath Rugby.
“You want to be playing for trophies and over the last few seasons it’s been a bit of a barren run for the club, so it’s important to win something this year,” added Varndell.
“If we win something and get that seventh place we can be proud as a club and it makes the season worthwhile instead of looking back and saying ‘we should have won there.’
“And that’s what I hate doing. We did that a lot last season, looking at one-point losses and we’re ninth in the league.
“That’s not where we want to be. A club like Wasps need to be in the top four, top six every year. The players know that, Dai Young knows that and the fans want that, so I think it’s important we get something.”
Wasps take on Gloucester Rugby in The Stinger at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 19 April. Little Mix will be performing, and tickets start at £10 (£1 donation to Sport Relief) from