27th Jun, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Spink: Top four the aim for Wasps

SAM SPINK insists finishing in the top four remains the aim for Wasps as they look to finish the season strongly ahead of a trip to Bristol Bears on Friday night.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed somewhat of a breakthrough season with the club, dotting down against Saracens and in last week’s 29-24 defeat to Harlequins.

Wasps are well in the mix for a play-off spot, trailing fourth-placed Gloucester by four points, with just six points seperating the latter with ninth-placed Northampton Saints.

And Spink hopes Wasps can carry their recent momentum into tomorrow night’s clash with Bristol as they come to the end of a successful block of games.

Spink said: “We isolated this block of five games as season-defining, it started really well, we just had one lapse last week, we’ve got one more before the end of the block and top-four is the aim, we know that.

“Before last week’s game we were fifth and one point away from fourth but you go down to ninth and they’re only four points away from you.

“You can get too excited and think you’re at the top of the table and suddenly you drop down to eighth again after one loss, it’s just about consistency.

“If we see top four in our sights and we want to be up fighting for the play-offs, we’re going to have to get results and points every week.

“At the start of this block, if you said you won four out of five, we’d be pretty happy, we’ve got one more chance to get some points followed by a period of rest and hopefully we’ll come back to finish the whole season on a high.”

However, Spink endured a difficult start to the season after picking up another injury in Wasps win against Northampton in October and did not feature again until the New Year’s Day clash with Sale Sharks.

Spink added: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t return to that [fearful] state, post that Newcastle game, I didn’t feel too great in the week, I did my groin in the first half and then my hamstring went at about 60 minutes.

“I hadn’t run that far, I hadn’t done that much in the game, it just felt like my body wasn’t ready and was ready to go at any point in that game, it did annoy me, I thought ‘this is just ridiculous I’ve gone again’.

“If it wasn’t that Saints game, it felt like it would have been the weekend after something would have happened, the bulletproof-ness I’m going to get is only going to come from week in week out games which is what I came to terms with during that injured period.

“I’ve managed to get that during this last period since coming back from injury, I’m very grateful for Lee [Blackett] who chucked me straight back in, I didn’t even know myself if I was ready to come straight back in to the starting lineup.

“We learned from the Northampton game, I managed myself well with the Toulouse game, we pulled me out becasue I felt some tightness, in the past I would have played, now I’ve got seven, eight, nine games under my belt, I’m feeling a lot better and in a better place now.”

That said, Spink is enjoying his longest run in the side to date and continues to learn with every match having graduated through the various age groups at Wasps.

He said: “It’s my longest spell playing Premiership rugby consistently, it takes that period of adaptation to each level, I was about 16 when I played two years up in the under-18’s league and I didn’t think I could impact at that level.

“You go up a year and another year and you feel like you can really impact that level, I’ve had that over the last couple of seasons in the Premiership and now I can start to influence this level and have an impact on the games.

“It’s all about adaptation and getting up to each level and I’m starting to feel really confident at this level now which is great, I’m on a managed load, we’re sensible where we need to be sensible and making the most of training.

“I spoke to Ed Robinson and he just said ‘if you only get one session in the week before a match, you really need to make the most of it and show up on that day’.”

Wasps travel to Bristol on Friday, February 25 with kick-off at 7.45pm at Ashton Gate.

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