If you've been following the site for a little while, you'll already know of my affinity to a certain black and gold strip. Since watching my first game at Adams Park in 2004 and watching a peak Tom Voyce and Josh Lewsey tear up the turf, I've followed them religiously, through thick and thin, stadium changes and near miss relegations. Wasps are in a rough patch of form at the moment, largely brought on by a lengthy spell of eight games with some pretty serious injuries littered throughout our top talent. Let's take this time to reflect back on those glory days and pick my all time Wasps side... Enjoy!
15. Andrea Masi (Italy)
Already a controversial call here as we've been incredibly lucky to have access to some of the best Full Backs in Premiership history and often have dipped into international waters for world class talent. Masi is a different beast and a real fan favourite here at Wasps, not only is he one of the few Italians to ever receive a 'Player of the Six Nations' Award, he's also a huge reason behind why our youth development is currently so good. Despite leaving his post last season, he's etched himself into the Wasps architecture. Versatile, aggressive, just as capable of hitting someone like a freight train as he was at finding the outside shoulder and speeding past, Masi was a complete player. Special mentions have to go to Mark 'Gizzy' van Gisbergan and Charles Piutau.
14. Christian Wade (England, Lions)
The best player that never was, Wade's fire burnt bright over his decade spent in England's top league. In the top five for all time try scorers, Wade stunned fans with his awesome attacking ability and sheer gas. Although only Gatland saw his prowess at international level, Wade was clearly one of the best wingers in the league for at least half a decade. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of Quins and boy did he love scoring against Quins!
13. Josh Lewsey (England, Lions)
Another controversial pick here, not because Lewsey doesn't deserve, but rather because he spent a lot of his career in the back three. I personally felt he played his best Rugby in that outside centre channel. Just like Masi, he was versatile, agile and immensely tough, remembered most for breaking Australian Matt Rogers in half after a brief scuffle on the pitch. Lewsey isn't just a Wasps legend, he's a British Isles legend, being born in Wales and representing England during their World Cup winning campaign. Other nominations include Elliot Daly and Stuart Abbott.
12. Fraser Waters (England)
One cap Waters got, just the one. I personally consider him the greatest ever centre in Premiership Rugby history. Creator of the blitz defence alongside Shaun Edwards, Waters is one of the most decorated players in Rugby history with European doubles and trebles littering his CV. Great match intelligence, inspiring bravery and soft hands made him the perfect player for the middle of the park; he orchestrated it all. Special nods have to go to Ayoola Erinle and Ben Jacobs.
11. Tom Voyce (England)
We mentioned him in one of our recent 'Top 5's, but Voyce is a generational talent. The closest players I can compare him to in the modern game are van der Merwe and Earls. Someone who just seemed impossible to bring down whilst also being so unbelievably consistent. He kicked well, could play across the back three, had great pace, tackled with guts and had an awesome centre of gravity that meant players constantly fell off of him. Special mentions have to go to Paul Sackey, Josh Bassett and Tom Varndell.
10. Jimmy Gopperth (New Zealand)
Gopperth is guilty of being a player still currently plying his trade at the club. That legend status is usually only applied to those who have hung their boots, but everytime Gopperth players, you almost want to give him an ovation for his contributions towards the club. He's another complete player, he has a fantastic boot (one that's fired him into the all time scorers top five), a surprisingly gutsy tackler and really skillful; what I love about him, is the calmness he gives Wasps somewhat erratic attack. Special mentions have to go to Alex King (who very narrowly missed this list), Danny Cipriani and Dave Walder.
9. Joe Simpson (England)
Another player who is yet to throw in the towel, 'Simmo' is a legend at the club and player that we sorely regret ever letting go. During Wasps' darkest days, he was quite simply brilliant, being the one to pull Wasps back into games through individual brilliance. Heck, he was even thrown on the Wing for a couple of games and scored some era defining Wasps solo efforts. A world record holder for the fastest Rugby pass, Simpson will be remembered for his incredible service to his Fly Half. Special nods have to go to Matt Dawson, Peter Richards, Rob Howley and Dan Robson.
8. Lawrence Dallaglio (England, Lions)
Do I need a reason to put Dallaglio here? Are there any other choices that could possibly displace him? I will give a special mention to the likes of Hart, Dean Ryan and Nathan Hughes for their time spent at the club.
7. Thomas Young (Wasps)
This is a mega spicy call, but I do think Young has done enough to earn this spot. He's been a revelation at the club and it's a travesty that he doesn't have more international caps. Without him, there's potentially no Willis, and no Barbeary; they are future legends in their own rights. When Youngs is at his best, he's a world beater, capable of ransacking breakdowns, pinching unpinchable ball and running riot around the fringes, just look what he did to Saracens a couple seasons ago. Special nominations have to go Tom Rees, Serge Betsen and Sam Jones.
6. Joe Worsley (England)
I love Worsley, and he doesn't get the credit he deserves as an all time England great. He should be regarded up there with Back and Hill, he was a better player than Moody and certainly better than Robshaw all things considered. He hit like a truck and kept on making hits, he never missed a tackle and always topped the stats. He also had soft hands and could offload out of trouble when required. Just a fantastic all round footballer and a epitome of a club legend. Some quick menions include James Haskell and hey, why not throw Guy Thompson into the mix (even though he was predominantly an 8).
5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Easy pick this, Launchbury takes this current Wasps side from mid table competitors, to European contenders. Every time he's in the starting 15, Wasps play with an extra 20% assertiveness. His leadership is immensely underrated and he's also a great footballer. Just don't ask him to re enact Swan Lake. A couple of special mentions include Will Rowlands, James Gaskell, Karen Myall and Richard Birkett.
4. Tom Palmer (England)
Tom Palmer is another criminally underrated player during that weird time for English rugby. He didn't have the presence of other locks of the ability to snap someone in half like a Lawes or Kruis, but he was a threat in every line out, jackaled surprisingly well for man his height, could offload without forcing it andvhad an unbelievable work ethic. He just didn't stop and he'd throw his bulk around as if he was someone considerably smaller.
3. Ali Mckenzie (England)
I'll admit it, Mckenzie isn't the best player to ever prop up our scrum, but he is one of my favourites. A bit of an unsung hero in some fantastic Wasps front rows, he was a bull of a man. During a period in which props didn't do much but scrummage and lay on smaller backs, he used to go on ruthless runs, throwing folks all of the place. However, on the topic of scrums, he used to chew up opposition for fun. A couple of nods have to go to Matt Mullan, Craig Dowd and Tim Payne.
2. Trevor Leota (Samoa)
I could have gone down the Rugby hipster route and picked Ibanez as he's the far better player with the accolades to prove it, but is there a better legend that sums up my love of Rugby more than 'Big Trev'? The guy was just a phenom on the pitch, happy to knock a couple guys out here, fold a couple backs over there, all whilst having his ear ripped off in game! He's the perfect Samoan Rugby player, tough as nails, interested in being elusive but possessing the size that makes being elusive impossible, and he enjoyed smashing people. Special nods go to Ibanez, Joe Ward, Phil Greening and Tom Cruise.
1. Phil Vickery (England, Lions)
Captain, fashion designer and now chef, is there anything this man can't do? The original raging bull, he could fool anyone with his charming demeanour off of the pitch, perhaps that's why he was such a great spokesperson for the game. He too took delighting snapping a couple of people in half, but he could also do it around the fringes and was surprisingly mobile for his size and stature. Although not the all round superstar he's sometimes referred to, his presence transformed that Wasps dressing room and he turned them into European titans. A quick special mention goes to Tom French, the man who made his debut in a Premiership final only to absolute destroy Julian White out of nowhere.
Coach: Sir Ian McGeechan
I love Gatland, I also love Shaun Edwards, but Wasps played their best Rugby under McGeechan. They also had a side that was significantly weaker than those gone by, with the likes of Waldouck and Staunton getting over 20 games a season under his watchful eye. The perfect blend of invention, heart and consistency allowed Wasps to become one of the most dominant sides in Rugby history. Anglo Welsh Cup, Heineken Cup and Premiership titles all came under his peership.