Dai Young Believes Wasps Can Make do and Mend Rather than Recruit
Murphy’s Law being as it is, once Wasps opted not to replace George Smith, there was a certain inevitability about what happened next.
Sam Jones’ broken leg came hot on the heels of James Haskell’s serious toe injury and placed the club’s back-row resources under serious pressure.
Last season, when a similarly unforgiving sequence of injuries befell the black-and-gold’s midfield, Dai Young wasted no time in recruiting Siale Piutau from the Southern Hemisphere on a short-term deal.
But having assessed his options ten months on, Wasps’ boss has opted for a different approach, and by juggling his resources hopes to bridge the gap until Nathan Hughes returns from autumn international duty and Haskell resumes fitness.
“The three Premiership games which clash with England are a bit of a concern,” Young says, “as with Tommy Taylor away Ashley will need to cover at hooker.”
“It may be that Tommy is released back to us, but fingers crossed he makes the England 23, in which case we won’t see him.”
“Hooker Ashley Johnson and lock James Gaskell are both more than capable of playing in the back row. Are we going to find better back-row players than those two out there? Probably not.”
“There isn’t a better back-rower than Ashley available currently and if he has to move up to hooker, Gask has played a lot in the back row and would do a job there”
“We put him on at No.6 against Newcastle last week, and will probably give him a run-out there in the Anglo-Welsh Cup against Worcester in readiness.”
Young says he has also been influenced by the form being shown in training by last Friday’s Anglo-Welsh Cup lock pairing Will Rowlands and Marcus Garratt.
“I’ve also got to think about the likes of Will, who I think has a big future and Marcus,” he says.
“Moving Gask into the back row and having Will on the bench is a far better prospect than anyone we’ve come across so far. “We’re obviously constantly looking, but we’re not going to bring in someone who isn’t then going to play”.
“I’ve got to do the best for the team and win games, so I ask myself is there a better option than playing James in the back-row and having Will on the bench?
“If we find that person we’ll bring him in, otherwise we’ll adapt the current squad, then once we’ve got through the next few weeks we’ll start to see the likes of James Haskell back.”R
Dai Young provides a fitness update on his squad
James Haskell (injured playing for England in June): “Hask should be fit in early December or thereabouts. We’ll have a more accurate idea from the physios in a couple of weeks time depending on progress.”
Thomas Young (injured against Saracens): “Thomas was fit and could have played against Sale on Friday, and will probably play this week.”
Jake Cooper-Woolley (injured against Newcastle): “Jake’s knee is still being assessed. He’s likely to be out a couple of weeks.”
Simon McIntyre (injured against Saracens): “Simon’s had an operation on his ankle and will be out for ten weeks.”
Marty Moore (injured against Newcastle): “Marty is fine - he’s got a sore neck but no other issues. I’m pretty confident he’ll be fine in a couple of weeks, hopefully for the Gloucester game.”
Alex Lundberg (injured in early season): “He’s had the same operation as Simon McIntyre and is due back later this month.”
Sam Jones (injured in England squad session last month): “Sam will be out for around six months.”
Josh Bassett (injured against Toulouse): “He’s fine now and having a rest after playing a lot of rugby this season.”
Kurtley Beale (injured in May): “We’re expecting Kurtley to be fit in early-to-mid December.”
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