Scotland cap Ruaridh Jackson will be doing all he can this week to secure a place in the Wasps starting XV for Saturday’s European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens.
Jackson, 28, was an unused replacement during the quarter-final victory over Exeter Chiefs earlier this month, but started at stand-off at the weekend as Wasps defeated Worcester Warriors 54-35.
Winger Christian Wade grabbed the headlines in that one with an amazing six tries and the result also guaranteed Wasps an Aviva Premiership play-off spot to set-up an exciting end to the campaign.
“The reason I moved to Wasps was to play in big matches and now we have the European semi-final and the league play-offs to look forward to,” Jackson said.
“Obviously my first season down here did not go to plan because I injured my knee very early on and for the rest of 2014/15 I was missing.
“During that time the club relocated to Coventry and thankfully I was offered a contract extension. This season I wanted to hit the ground running and I feel like I have played my part in what has been a good spell so far.
“Our focus now is completely on Saracens on Saturday and we have played them enough to know what kind of match to expect.”
The semi-final at the weekend is being played at the Madejski Stadium in Reading with Leicester Tigers and Racing 92 meeting in the other last-four clash at Nottingham’s City Ground on Sunday.
In the last eight against Moray Low’s Exeter side at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps just came through 25-24. Things were not looking good for them when they were 13 points down with 22 minutes to play, but they battled back.
They eventually won it with a last-minute try converted by Jimmy Gopperth and Jackson said: “It was horrible watching from the sidelines, I was pretty nervous I can tell you.
“Credit to Jimmy though he held his nerve and I am lucky enough to work with him every day so I know just how good a kicker he can be given the chance.
“Exeter played well in the match for long spells, but we were determined to make it through to the last four and our spirit and work ethic really did shine through because during the second half we did look in a bit of bother.
“The Saracens match is going to be massive. They have a very good side packed full of international players, but we do too and after our recent run of results we are confident coming up against anyone right now.
“I am just getting my head down and working hard in training this week and, hopefully, the coaching staff will want me involved in the matchday 23 or the starting XV because it is shaping up to be a great occasion.”
Of course, in the semi-final, Jackson could find himself up against fellow Scots in the shape of Duncan Taylor, Kelly Brown and Jim Hamilton. Taylor is the most likely of the trio to start and Jackson enjoyed working with him and others during the Six Nations with Scotland.
The former Glasgow Warriors man said: “It was great to be back in the Scotland mix again and being involved in a big event like the Six Nations. You always get a buzz pulling on the Scotland strip and I got quite a bit of game time in the Wales match after Hoggy [Stuart Hogg] went off.
“After that I hoped I would be used a bit more in the remaining games, but it wasn’t to be.
It was great to see the team get the wins against Italy and France because the losing run in the competition had gone on long enough and we are a better team than that.
“For now my focus is on having a strong end to the season with Wasps and then wait and see whether I am selected for the Scotland summer tour.”