London Wasps left Sandy Park on Saturday with just a single bonus point. Despite being in the running for much of the game, Dai Young's side were only able to grasp that bonus point in the very last moments of the match, with Tommy Bell slotting a penalty with the last kick of the game.
Wasps went into the half time break with the score at 20 points apiece, but the second half was a different story, with the hosts scoring ten points to Wasps’ three. Young says that going into the halftime break he was happy with his team’s efforts.
“We were certainly in the game at half time. Coming into the break I was quite confident that if we could take a hold of the game in the second half it was a game that we could have won. Realistically though, in that second 40 minute period we didn’t have any ball, any platform or any territory really to mount any sort of attack and we ended up defending for most of the second half.”
Wasps were hampered by two yellow cards, the first to Joe Simpson and the second for Elliot Daly, which meant the side had to play for a quarter of the game with 14 players. Young highlights those two moments as the two most prominent factors in his side’s loss.
“The two yellow cards were a big factor. There’s no argument from me, they were yellow cards, but we had a huge amount of their points scored against us during those periods when we were down to 14 men, which is a huge message to the players really, that if we lose our discipline it is going to cost us. It certainly did on the day. Not only that, I thought that we made critical errors during those periods which didn’t allow us to get control of the field or control of the ball. We just gave everything back to Exeter. On occasions I thought that our defence was outstanding within our own 22. I thought that our goalline defence was very good but certainly we were very disappointed with some of the clean line breaks that Exeter made from their own half or around the halfway line which put us under lots of pressure. In all fairness I thought that we were lucky to come away with a bonus point.”
“I don’t believe that we really deserved to get a bonus point. Exeter certainly won the second half hands down, but sometimes those bonus points can make the difference come the end of the season and we were very pleased to come away with it. We are frustrated that we still haven’t nailed that away victory but you don’t want to keep talking about it because then it becomes a bigger issue than it is. We are not playing near our best and we will have to if we want to go away and get results. One thing that has been quite pleasing has been the fact there has only been one game this season where we haven’t come away with something, which was Northampton. That shows that we are not a million miles away from it but for the team to keep progressing up the league we have to start picking up some wins on the road as well as nailing all of our home games."
This weekend Wasps travel to France to face Bayonne in the first leg of back-to-back Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures, the second of which takes place at Adams Park on Thursday 13th November, kick off 19:45. Young says that those two fixtures could be the defining games in this season’s European campaign.
“I would like to think that we will be able to beat Mogliano at home. Going away to Rodney Parade is never easy, that could be a real banana skin, but the next two weeks could really define our European campaign. We need to make sure that we come out of these next two games on top, make sure that we come out of them with more points than Bayonne and then it is pretty much over to us.”
“Going to France and trying to get any result is difficult. French sides are traditionally far more efficient at home, than they are away, which is probably as true of us at this moment in time! They have got enough real quality within their team that, even if they are not playing that well as a team, individually they have got players who can hurt you, world stars, world recognised players who, given time and space on the ball can cause you real problems.”
“If we go out there and get a result this weekend it might change their view, what team they send out the following week and the importance of that game to them. All that we can do is go out there this weekend and try to get the result we are looking for. If we can get that we can then go into the home game with a bit of confidence that we can maintain our home record at Adams Park.”
That return fixture will give Young’s charges a chance to extend their unbeaten run at Adams Park this season to seven games. With a formidable home record building, Young is clearly keen to commend the support his team have experienced at Adams Park.
“The support at Adams Park has always been excellent. Even last year, when things weren’t going to plan and during a very difficult time, both on and off the field, the support was always excellent. Obviously we are looking at increasing the numbers, everyone is working hard at the club to do that, but you can never doubt how vocal and how much support the fans have provided to the players. This season the crowds have improved, which has been great, and the noise levels and the enthusiasm about getting behind the team has been excellent. We have certainly enjoyed playing at home and we feel a huge responsibility every time we play at home to get a result for the supporters.”
To secure your place at the Amlin Challenge Cup fixture against Bayonne on Thursday 13th December call 0844 225 2990 or book online here.