Simpson admits his Stade score was one of his best

Bucks Free Press: Joe Simpson raced nearly 80m to score Joe Simpson raced nearly 80m to score

JOE Simpson was every bit as slippery as he is on a rugby field when asked this week how many times he’s watched back his dazzling solo try against Stade Francais.

“A few times,” he said. “I’ve watched it a few times - for technical aspects purely.

“The first time I watched it back was pretty special and I’ve watched it back a couple more times since. I’ve savoured the moment and tried to drag anyone in that I can to watch it with me.”

Simpson’s career has been punctuated by searing individual tries ever since he weaved over from half way against Bristol in his debut season back in 2009.

But none were quite as jaw-dropping and roof-raising as his near-80m effort against the Stade at Adams Park on Sunday.

It wasn’t just the spectacular nature of his score or the sharp intake of breath among fans, who realised it was on as soon as he took Nathan Hughes’ offload. But it came in Wasps’ biggest match of the season and at the most crucial moment in it.

Wasps were 20-15 up but James Haskell was in the sin bin and the Stade pack were deep inside the 22, pushing and probing for a way though.

Simpson said: “I got lucky really. It was a good carry from Carlo [Festuccia] and a brilliant clear out from Phil Swainston. That was exceptional, really top drawer.

“It gave us good clean ball and Nathan Hughes picked up and did what he normally does. He got an arm free and you can see in the replay that I’m screaming my head off because I can see a small gap.

“I knew there were metres to be gained and then when you get through you assess the situation.

“You can’t look around for your support but you can feel them and listen for them and you see what’s in front of you.

“I saw they had only one player in the defensive line at full back and he was isolated. I wanted to keep him that way so I ran at him initially to square him up and put him on his heels and then tried to put in a swerve away from him.

“They had a covering defender coming in from the right and I felt more pressure from him than the one on the left, so I went left and luckily enough my legs are still fresh and I still had enough juice left in them after 60 minutes to squeeze round the outside and get through.

“I think it was the longest-range try I’ve ever had and is also up there with the most important tries I’ve ever scored.

It came at an important moment in the match. It was getting into an arm wrestle and the match was in danger of getting stagnant. We needed a bit of a boost so I’m delighted with it.

“I just wish I could have at least been at least nominated for try of the season here, but I was a week too late.”

Simpson’s now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t moment helped Wasps to a 30-29 win which they’ll try to defend in front of a hugely partisan Parisian crowd tomorrow.

He said: “We all know how important this is for the club, financially and rugby wise, and you can really feel everyone coming together.

“It’s a straight shoot-out now; win and we go through, lose and we don’t.

“Stade Francais have got a quality team but we know we’ve got the ability to beat anyone on our day and I personally thought we looked the more dangerous team throughout the 80 minutes.

“That gives us a lot of encouragement and I’m looking forward to it. I still feel fresh and I’m still enthusiastic. I’m not ready to finish the season yet.”

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