Ryan Wilson says he won’t go looking for trouble in tomorrow’s European Champions Cup clash against Saracens at Allianz Park, but if trouble seeks him out then he will be ready and willing to fight fire with fire.
The combative back-row has earned a bit of a reputation over the years as an individual who will never be far away from the flashpoint when sparks fly, and he gave a purposely exaggerrated shrug of innocence when it was suggested he might be involved in a few skirmishes tomorrow.
“You must think that because I’m mostly involved in it, but maybe that’s because I’m provoked’,” Wilson suggested, with a mischievous glint in his eye. “Maybe they come up against us and say: ‘He’s the guy who is mostly involved in it so let’s get stuck into him’.”
It was a tempestuous affair when these two sides met at Scotsoun at the start of this European campaign and, with so much at stake this weekend, another full-blooded encounter is on the cards.
“We know that they are going to be physical, and they are probably one of the worst teams for mouthing off and celebrating in your face, so we’re going to go down there and embrace it,” said Wilson.
“Yes, I enjoy it,” he conceded. “It became a bit of a joke at the end in that last game because it must have been every five minutes play stopped because of pushing and shoving, but I don’t mind it. It is part of the game. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of it from them… not from us!”
Warriors ended up losing 13-3 to Saracens in that match at the start of October, and having been hammered 38-13 the last time the two sides met at Allianz Park back in April 2017, Wilson and his team-mates know they will be underdogs tomorrow.
Their form has not been at its scintillating best during the last month, but after three Guinness Pro14 defeats on the bounce, the team found a way to win in horrendous conditions against Cardiff in their penultimate Champions Cup pool match last Sunday, and Wilson insists they are in pretty good shape going into this weekend’s encounter.
“Sometimes defeat can be a more positive thing than going out and winning, and I think it has been pretty positive on us,” he said. “We’ve tried to look at it as a lesson in what we need to change and treat it almost as a kick in the backside to switch us on to what we’re trying to achieve. I don’t think we got too comfortable, but we just needed something to help us refocus.”