Dai Young ready for Wasps final run-in
Dai Young ready for the final run-in as Wasps eye success on two fronts.
Wasps boss Dai Young has seen his club go from strength-to-strength since the turn of the year, to a point where they hold realistic prospects of reaching the final stages of both the Aviva Premiership and the European Cup.
The black-and-golds host Exeter this weekend in Europe’s premier competition and are three wins away from lifting the trophy for a third time, having been 80/1 outsiders when the pool stages began in the autumn.
Their chances of staging a first domestic play-off campaign since 2008 are also looking good after their recent run of ten wins in 11 matches. Young shares his thoughts on a number of key areas, starting with a retrospective on the post-World Cup Premiership campaign as his team approaches the last lap.
"The season isn’t longer than any other, but it has been relentless because of the World Cup. "You normally get breaks during the Six Nations and autumn internationals with the LV=Cup, which allows you to rest some of your mainstream players but we haven’t had that this year and every game has been full on.”
"It’s been a difficult year and obviously every club top, middle or bottom is feeling it a little bit now. "But we are all in the same boat and because we can see the finishing post just around the corner we’ve all now got a little spring in our step."
Wasps’ season really took off during the Six Nations period when they won seven of their eight Premiership matches. Young believes this was down to his club’s squad depth, which in turn reflected positively on recruitment done over the summer. "We’ve been quite lucky this season as we’ve had internationals going out, but perhaps not as many as the other clubs. "
“Also some of our overseas recruits such as George Smith and Charles Piutau have been here through that period so that’s certainly helped us and we recruited with that in mind.” “Compared with the likes of Harlequins and a lot of others who lose a big bulk of their team, this means although we’ve lost players, we’ve maintained a good core.” "This year has certainly proved that you’re only as strong as your squad, but it’s very similar most years really.” "There is a lot of games played during the Six Nations and autumn internationals, and there’s lots of points to be won and lost over those periods."
When asked about the seven Wasps’ players who featured in the Six Nations, Young said they have returned to a club whose on-field success during their absence has created both a very positive atmosphere and competition for places.
James Haskell was a key man for Eddie Jones' side in their Six Nations triumph
"All the players given opportunities over the Six Nations period have given me lots of headaches over the next week or two as they’ve all stood up and played really well and we’ve won nine out of ten games.”
"The internationals coming back can see how well all the boys have played and probably don’t feel as comfortable as they have in the past with regards to walking straight back into the team. Hask has been away from the club for nine weeks and he’s come in and picked the volume levels right back up!”
"For the likes of Joe Launchbury it is a different atmosphere coming back to Wasps now compared to previous years when we were scrapping towards the bottom of the table.” "There are some big games coming up which makes it much easier for these boys to adjust."
Wasps have three matches remaining in the league campaign, plus this weekend’s European Cup quarter final with Exeter. Depending on results, they may then feature in semi-finals and a final in both competitions.
When asked if the proximity to the end of the season means his strongest team will now feature every week, Young said a range of considerations still applied to selection. "We’ve got to manage people, I don’t believe anybody, no matter how good a player he is, can play at his best week-in, week-out for ten months. "So sometimes it’s a case of resting players to get the best out of them, even at this stage of the season."
"Exeter will be a real tough selection without a shadow of a doubt, because that’s a complete one off, and if you get it wrong you’re out. "I’m really pleased with all the players’ performances and selection is going to be a bit of a headache.
You may also like
Posted on April 2nd, 2016
Posted on April 3rd, 2016
Posted on April 6th, 2016