Last weekend’s performance was not the best display at Adams Park by anyone’s account. Amid a very disappointing display, the scrum, which has gone from strength to strength this season, once again held firm, with a number of Wasps’ penalties coming from that aspect of the game. 24-year-old Cooper-Woolley has been a shining light in the front row all season, but it is clear that he is taking no solace in that fact.
“It is positive in the way that we got ourselves out of situations where we were under pressure a number of times but, like everything about the performance, the scrums weren’t as positive as we would have liked. Although we won some penalties, we didn’t get our game going as much as we would have liked. They gave away a few penalties rather than us earning them. We didn’t get the performance we wanted and we know we will have to be a lot better this weekend.”
The men in black and gold returned to training this week on the back of two disappointing results in recent weeks, and the prospect of travelling to The Rec this Saturday to face Bath, who are on an 11-game winning streak at home is a quite daunting one. Cooper-Woolley says that the team have tried to put last weekend’s performance to one side, knowing that was far below what they expect of themselves, instead focusing on the challenge this weekend will present.
“We haven’t looked at last week’s performance in too much depth; you can’t pick apart a game like that. We know that we weren’t good enough from minute one to the end and sometimes if you concentrate too much on the negatives it can weigh you down, especially going into a game like we have this weekend. We had a big discussion about how big a performance we need this weekend. Last weekend was unacceptable in terms of the standards we have been setting all year across the group and we are fully aware that it wasn’t good enough. It shouldn’t require a performance like that to illicit a response but hopefully there is one this weekend.”
“This weekend will be really tough, especially after what happened when they came to Adams Park earlier this year. We have been very proud of our efforts this year as a pack, being very physical and believing that we can take the best of teams on. We’re expecting a much better performance at The Rec this weekend than either last weekend or when we last played Bath. We need a reaction and hopefully we will offer more to the game.”
“They are a big forward pack all the way from one to eight. It is clear that, every team they have played this year, they have hammered the scrum, got their driving lineout going and tried to dominate the breakdown. We know that if we want to get something from the game we need to at least get parity up front and if we don’t it will be a long day at the office. You saw from Exeter last week, they really challenged them up front, stopped the driving lineout, stopped the scrum and they had that game there to win. We have to forget about last week, make sure we are on the mark this weekend and we have to give a far better account of ourselves.”