Tom James spoke to Andy Powell this week as Wasps hosted an elite rugby training session at London Wasps with Gatorade, the official hydration partner of the Aviva Premiership.
As Wasps look destined for another fruitless season in the Premiership as they drown under a tide of crucial injuries, Andy Powell represents one of the few success stories for the men in black and gold. Arriving on a sour note after being banished from the Welsh squad last year, Powell sought a fresh start at Wasps, and playing in the Premiership has clearly rejuvenated the Wales number 8.
“This is a tight knit group of boys here, one of the closest squads I’ve been with, and I’m just really happy at the club,” said Powell, who looks set to put weight to these words when he signs a new contract at Wasps.
As the season draws to a close, Powell and his Wasps teammates will just be left with the thoughts of what may have been for a club so used to glory. They currently occupy 8th spot and look likely to miss out on Heineken Cup rugby for next year given the points gap that they face. This is a different team to the all-conquering Wasps seen a few years ago, but they still possess talent unbecoming of their current position.
“These injuries happen, but it’s been really unlucky. This is without doubt the worst set of injuries I’ve ever seen at a club I’ve been at. We’ve had guys like Tom Varndell, David Lemi and now Rob Webber pull up and I think had we had a full set then we’d really be competing for that fourth spot,” a frustrated Powell commented ruefully.
But the Brecon-born forward would be the last person to let injuries dampen spirits. “It’s been really frustrating on my part being injured for so long, and last Friday at Harlequins was disappointing. But now it’s about restoring a bit of pride in the jersey in the remaining matches.”
With next season firmly on Wasps’ horizon, they strengthened their team last week with the signing of Ross Filipo from Bayonne, which followed the signing of Powell’s Welsh teammate Nicky Robinson. These signings, as well as existing talent, has left Powell in an upbeat mood.
“Nicky will be a great signing and will bring a lot to the club. His move to Gloucester freshened him up really and he’ll do well here. I’ve also been impressed with others at the club, especially Tom Lindsay. He’s really caught my eye and is definitely one for the future. Rob (Webber) will be a miss with injury but I think Tom will do a great job.”
With less to play for this Sunday against Leeds, one may consider that their opponents renewed vigour after victory over Newcastle will help them overcome this Wasps side. Though this Wasps team are keen to prove doubters wrong and finish their season on a high, and Andy Powell will be right at the forefront of their challenge.
Andy Powell and teammates hosted an elite rugby training session at London Wasps’ training ground. London Wasps RFC is one of a series of AVIVA Premiership Rugby clubs working with Gatorade to encourage players of all levels to stay ahead of the game and improve their performance. Gatorade is the official hydration partner of the AVIVA Premiership.