Haskell reckons it will take three to stop big Billy V
JAMES HASKELL reckons it will take THREE Wasps stars to stop a rampaging Billy Vunipola.
Wasps face trophy favourites Saracens in an all-England European Champions Cup semi-final on Saturday at the Madejski Stadium.
With Sarries’ No 8 Vunipola fresh from bulldozing England to Six Nations Grand Slam glory, skipper Haskell knows Wasps have a tough task to reach a first final since 2007.
The flanker, 31, said: “Maybe it takes three of you to stop him but, hopefully, we’ve got three men prepared to do that.
“Billy’s one of the most destructive ball carriers in world rugby — you have to respect everything he does.
“While you’ve got the attention on him, there’s someone else trying to play. But the best way to take Billy, if you do, is tackle him round the legs.”
A dramatic last-gasp win against Exeter secured Dai Young’s side a last-four clash with Saracens, who fought back from behind to beat Northampton.
Leicester face French side Racing 92 in Nottingham on Sunday in the other semi-final.
Wasps smashed Sarries 64-23 during the Six Nations and were the last side to dish out such a massive defeat to the Premiership champions. But Haskell warned: “It is a totally different affair in Reading.
“It will be a huge occasion and Saracens will have all their top players back.
“They’re a very physical outfit and will be disappointed with what happened. They pride themselves on their defence and I think they’re aware that it wasn’t good enough on the day.
“So I’m expecting a massive encounter. I’m really expecting a Test match standard game, where no one will leave anything in the tank.
“For a long time I hadn’t had any silverware in my career, apart from a couple of bits with England, so it’s a massive opportunity to be playing and have the possibility to pick some silverware up.”
Meanwhile, six of England’s Six Nations Grand Slam-winning squad are in the running to be named European Player of the Year.
Saracens quartet Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Billy Vunipola are joined by Harlequins star Jack Clifford and Wasps’ Elliot Daly on a 15-strong shortlist.
The winner will be announced during next month’s European finals weekend in Lyon.
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