Aviva Premiership: Will Helu eyeing London Wasps starting spot
Aviva Premiership: Will Helu is relishing the battle to secure a starting spot at London Wasps this season
Wasps have a collection of wingers that are the envy of nearly every club in world rugby and Tongan star Will Helu knows he has a fight on his hands just to make the matchday 23.
With both Tom Varndell and Christian Wade missing huge swathes of the 2013/14 Aviva Premiership season through injury, Helu grabbed his chance with both hands.
I just put my best foot forward and played the best that I could. This season is going to be a massive challenge for myself but on a positive note we are pushing each other
The 28-year-old scored two tries in the Aviva Premiership but it was in Europe that he really made his presence felt, finishing the Challenge Cup season as the competition’s top try scorer with seven.
That sort of a breakthrough season you would think guarantees Helu a spot in Wasps’ first XV ahead of the new campaign but with both Varndell and Wade back firing fit and new signing from the Hurricanes Alapati Leiua also waiting in the wings competition could not be much stronger.
But rather than bemoan his misfortune, Helu welcomes the challenge against his illustrious teammates.
“I was fortunate enough to play a lot of games last season but it was very unfortunate with those two [Tom Varndell and Christian Wade] getting injured,” Helu said.
“I just put my best foot forward and played the best that I could. This season is going to be a massive challenge for myself but on a positive note we are pushing each other.
“I can’t wait to see Christian back playing and I’m sure England as well as Wasps feel the same way.
“Tom proves every season that he’s a quality player and it’s going to be a big test but hopefully [director of rugby] Dai [Young] just gives me the opportunity and I take it.
“I need to train well, integrate with the new guys and learn how they play. Just training against Tommy and Wadey I will pick up things I can put into my game.
“If Dai feels he can pick me then hopefully I’ll take the chance with both hands. Alapati joined on Monday and he’s a great signing for us as anyone who has watched Super Rugby this season will know.
“There is no way I race those guys in training because you know who’s going to win. There’s Tom, Wadey, even Joe Simpson is quick and we’ve got Tom Howe in the academy who is rapid.
“I always go for the first ten metres and the rest is up to them. I think we could well be the quickest team in the league.”
While Wasps might be synonymous with speed, their opponents in their season opener at Twickenham’s London Double Header Saracens are renowned for brute force.
Table toppers in the regular season, Sarries fell agonisingly short of a league and European double in 2013/14 and Helu, whose Wasps side are back at Europe’s top table this season, welcomes the early chance to gauge themselves against one of the best.
“Saracens’ results in the Premiership and Heineken Cup last season show it’s going to be a massive challenge for us but we’re looking forward to it,” he added.
“You couldn’t wish for a better way to start the Premiership season than with a double-header at Twickenham against Saracens.
“I played at Twickenham last year against Gloucester in the Stinger for Sport Relief. It was an awesome occasion and it’s one of those stadiums that as a kid growing up playing rugby you want to play in.
“It was a massive occasion; I enjoyed it and will hopefully get another chance to run out there in the double header.”
PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR – Will Helu was speaking on behalf of Heathrow Express, proud sponsors of the Aviva Premiership London Double Header . Heathrow Express is the fastest way to travel between central London and Heathrow Airport. For more information visit www.heathrowexpress.com or join the conversation on Twitter @hexrugby