Festuccia: Winning at home is key

After two big results on the road against Saracens and Bath, Carlo Festuccia says that winning at the Ricoh Arena is key to their campaign as they prepare to host Harlequins this Sunday.

Third place in the Aviva Premiership table faces fourth place as Wasps play Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena this weekend.

Two emphatic wins against Saracens and Bath in the last two weeks have catapulted Wasps up to third and this Sunday’s game provides an opportunity to stabilise that position.

After scraping wins over Newcastle and Worcester in the last two domestic games at home, Carlo Festuccia says that keeping their performance high like the last two away games is at the front of the team’s minds this weekend.

“We are in a good period now where we’ve been playing well and getting good results. We weren’t at our best in some of the games we have won, but we have managed to get results. In the last couple of weeks we have been much better. To score 63 points against Saracens, which was a record score, can’t be done without playing well and last week at Bath we backed that up with another good game. 

“This week we’re back at home against a very good Harlequins side, who are a team who can cause us a lot of problems. Home form needs to be a big focus for us. This weekend’s game is a great opportunity for us to show some good form at home, which is key.

“We don’t think we were at our best when we last played Quins and everyone wants to make sure we give a better account of ourselves this time around. We have improved since then and our focus is on continuing our improvement. This week we have been very focused and we’re all really looking forward to Sunday.

“Quins come into the game on the back of a good win last weekend against Leicester and they have grown in strength as the season has gone on, so I think it will be a tough one. We’re in third and fourth place in the table so it’s a really important one for both sides, but we have to focus on ourselves and keeping our performance high.

“Winning at home is a big thing if you want to do well in the league. We scraped wins against Newcastle and Worcester but we want to be performing much better at home. It’s a matter of mindset more than anything else and if we’re not where we need to be it will be a tough day for us against Quins. They won’t be coming to the Ricoh Arena to give us any presents, they will want to spoil the party and give us a really hard afternoon.”

Festuccia returned to the side in the 64-23 win over Saracens after injury had kept him on the sidelines, but he says the depth in the squad has been a huge factor in Wasps’ move up the table.

“The key to our performances recently has been our squad. We have a really good squad this year, which means if we lose a few players to international duty or to injury, the player who comes in to the squad has fantastic skills and is desperate to play well.

“When I was injured, Ash [Johnson] and Edd [Shervington] were doing a really good job so there was no rush for me to come back from injury, I was given the time to get back to full fitness. Now that I’m back the competition is really high and all three of us are constantly battling to get a place in the match day 23. You feel lucky every time you’re included and it’s great to be able to train with two other hookers of that standard. The quality of the team is the same whoever plays.”

Tickets for this Sunday’s Aviva Premiership game against Harlequins are available to purchase online here.