Player in the Pod: Elliot Daly

After a summer away with England and a little break, how was the dreaded pre-season and being back in camp with Wasps?

It has been really good so far. Some of the boys came back at different times from different places whether it be some of us from Australia or a few were in South Africa with the Saxons.  There wasn’t a long break but it is great to get back into it and everything has been very positive, which you can see with the good win over Exeter on the weekend, the season is off to a good start.

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Wasps have been the talk of the off-season with all the high-profiled new signings you have acquired. How are the new lads fitting in?

Yes it is a very exciting time to be at the club and these new signings bring a lot of experience with them too which is fantastic for myself and some of the other younger guys in the squad. Not everyone is fully fit as of yet, but they have been welcomed into the club and seem very happy to have joined and we are more than happy to have them. Obviously Willie Le Roux joins too once the Rugby Championship is finished and we will be very fortunate to be able to draw on his experience too. There are lots of big names coming over here to play, which is great for the Premiership and this year looks like it could be closer than ever before.

Obviously with Danny Cipriani, Kurtley Beale, Kyle Easmond and Willie Le Roux amongst others joining the club there is a lot of competition for places in the back line, especially in your positions of centre and full back. Where do you think your best position is?

Competition for places is always a good thing in my opinion, it means I have to be at my very best or I may find myself on the bench. To be honest I see myself at 13, as an outside centre, I have played the majority of my rugby there in the last few years but I am happy to play wherever Dai puts me. If he asks me to do a job on the wing or at full back I will happily do that. The main thing is getting the result at the end of the day.

Last year was a very positive one for the side with Wasps reaching semi finals in both the Aviva Premiership and Europe. What are the targets this year? Do your priorities lie on one particular competition?

As you say last year was good but it could’ve been great. We reached semi finals in both competitions with fairly close defeats on both occasions and the aim this year is obviously to go one better. We haven’t identified one competition to target it is about striking a balance. Fortunately we have a big squad so can rotate when needed and you see during the international breaks it is essential to have cover if you want to push for the title. Saracens have shown it is possible to compete and win both the domestic and European competitions and that is something we are trying to emulate this year but have to take it one game at a time.

You are now in your second year at your new home in Coventry. How has the club taken to the move?

There are absolutely no complaints here, everything has been fantastic with the relocation. It has been a fantastic move for the club and the Ricoh Arena already feels like home largely thanks to the fans, both the old ones and some news one in Coventry who have welcomed us into the midlands. The facilities are brilliant and all the players are very happy with everything that is happening at the club which can only be a good thing and lead to positive outcomes on the pitch too.

If we look a bit further ahead, the November tests are just around the corner. You must be excited to hopefully play a big role in those. As Eddie Jones alluded to is there a sense of disappointment that you wont get to face the All Blacks?

As you say I am sure they will rush up on us as they always do and it is a very exciting prospect to play the likes of South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and of course Australia again, but this time in front of a home crowd. That said we have proven ourselves over the last few months to be much improved and if we want to be the best in the world we have to play the best. Currently the All Blacks own that title and as players we can’t change the fixture or do anything about the wait, but I know when the time comes we are looking forward to taking them but there is a lot of rugby to be played before then and a lot can happen.

Finally we can’t talk about Wasps and not touch on James Haskell, he has become part of The Rugby Pod after the Goodey prank call. How are the squad dealing with his lack of presence as he recovers from injury?

Yes it’s fair to say the place is a lot quieter without him that’s for sure. He does keep messaging the whatsapp group but no one is really having any of his banter. He is still involved a bit and at the matches but for now he is just getting on with his rehab and it will be great to have him back soon. That said we have great cover from both Sam Jones and Thomas Young who have been super in the back row in his absence and that just highlights the strength in depth at the club right now, which is really promising.

Elliot Daly was speaking on behalf of the Premiership Rugby and the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Clubs who are supporting the Aviva Community Fund – a nationwide initiative which offers funding of up to £25,000 to grassroots sports clubs and other community organisations close to your heart. Enter at aviva.co.uk/community-fund from 13 September.

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