Patience has really been a virtue for Oxfordshire rugby star Will Matthews, who is making his mark with Wasps.

The 24-year-old flanker, who hails from Brize Norton, has forced his way into the Premiership club’s reckoning this season.

Top-flight rugby looked a remote prospect after Matthews left Gloucester in 2005, but he has fought his way back.

Matthews said: “I left Gloucester because I was struggling with an injury and didn’t get the game time I would have liked.

“I went to Pertemps Bees in National 1 for two years and then felt I was ready to move back up.

“I felt I should be playing at a higher level, but I didn’t get any offers.

“Then Blackheath, in National 2, got in touch with me and said if I played for them, I could train with Wasps during the day.

“I took a bit of a gamble, so I could get my foot in the door at Wasps.

“Each training session was like a trial and I think I impressed Shaun Edwards and Tony Hanks.

“They offered me a contract at the end of last season.”

Having won a football scholarship to Millfield School in Somerset, former Witney RFC junior Matthews then concentrated on rugby.

His progress with the oval ball was impressive and he toured South Africa with England Under 19s before joining Gloucester.

Now at Wasps, he is determined to make a real impact.

Matthews said: “This year, with injuries to Tom Rees and Joe Worsley, I have been on the bench ten times and started three.

“January 3 against Newcastle was my first Premiership start.

“I realised there were some world class flankers ahead of me, but I wanted to pick up as much as I could from them.

“I knew I would get opportunities, and when they came up, I just had to grab them.”

Matthews does extra gym work to protect the knee he injured while at Gloucester.

He said: “I feel pretty fortunate to be out there, just enjoying playing.

“We have a great set-up at Wasps, with world class players and great coaching staff.

“Trevor Woodman, who I played with at Gloucester, is our forwards coach.

“He has so many good ideas and so much enthusiasm.”

Matthews signed a one-year deal at Wasps last summer.

“I am doing everything I can this year to get a contract for next year,” he added.

“Just playing as much as possible is my priority.

“A lot of things will come with that.

“If I just keep working hard, I have a chance.

“And it can’t hurt to be starting matches.”

At 24, Matthews has plenty of time ahead of him, especially when you consider the example of Wasps captain Serge Betsen, the former French international flanker and world player of the year.

“He is 35, going on 36, and just keeps on going,” said Matthews.

“He makes the most tackles in Premiership and has won loads of man-of-the-match awards.

“Serge is really positive. His impact on the squad is great.

“He is really someone to look up to.”