Wentzel loving his rugby again

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:32
Large marco wentzel 630 Large marco wentzel2 630 Large london wasps v newport gwen

London Wasps lock Marco Wentzel says playing without fear of relegation has him loving his rugby this season.

London Wasps lock Marco Wentzel, who recently signed a new contract extension at the club, says playing without fear of relegation has him loving his rugby this season.

The South African second row spent the last three seasons involved in relegation battles – last year with London Wasps and two years in a row with Leeds Carnegie – and he says he is enjoying that pressure being lifted.

“It is never a great deal of fun battling against relegation and I have had that for three years in row, but on the other side, there is a great sense of achievement that you get from fighting for survival and then achieving it. There is a sense of camaraderie that you don’t get with anything else. I think that this season we are enjoying the fruits of that battle last year.

“I am really enjoying this season; it is a completely different atmosphere and a totally different feeling coming to training every day. We haven’t had that shadow cast over the team and things behind the scenes have begun to be sorted out and it is a big boost for the squad.”

Wentzel said his side are desperate to make up for a disappointing defeat last weekend as they prepare to travel to Sixways on Friday.

“We were obviously going into the game in a good position having beaten Harlequins away and then Gloucester at home, so we were very disappointed to lose and very disappointed by the way we lost.

“We didn’t play well, we weren’t up to scratch in defence and we didn’t retain the ball well enough. That wasn’t a reflection of what this group of people are capable of. There are a lot of guys who aren’t that pleased this week, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

This Friday’s game gives Wasps a chance to get back on track, but the task will not be an easy one, travelling up to Sixways to play a Worcester team looking to pick up points to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack at the bottom of the table.

“We know that going away to Worcester is going to be a tough challenge," Wentzel said.

“They will be looking to put a bit of distance between themselves and the bottom of the table. They had a very unlucky loss against Gloucester and they will be looking to bounce back and pick up some much-needed points.

“There are not many sides that go up to Sixways on a Friday night and come away with a win. They are in a not too dissimilar a place to where we were last year and we know how much that can drive you. We have a short turnaround, coming out of a Sunday game into a Friday game, and if we are not fully on our game then we are going to struggle.

“They are very good at grinding you down, they are good in defence and have a good kicking game so there is no doubt that they are going to make it very hard for us. If we want to play our brand of rugby then we are going to have to do the hard yards first.”

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Team P W D L Pts
Northampton Saints 22 16 1 5 76
Bath 22 16 0 6 75
Leicester Tigers 22 15 1 6 68
Saracens 22 14 1 7 68
Exeter Chiefs 22 14 0 8 68
Wasps 22 11 2 9 61
Sale Sharks 22 11 0 11 54
Harlequins 22 10 0 12 49
Gloucester 22 9 1 12 48
London Irish 22 7 1 14 40
Newcastle Falcons 22 5 1 16 34
London Welsh 22 0 0 22 1