Countdown to the Aviva Premiership KO
With only a week to go until the start of the Aviva Premiership season and Wasps' game against Harlequins, the Aviva Premiership season was officially launched at the Twickenham Stoop yesterday.
Wasps' Director of Rugby Dai Young gave his thoughts ahead of the new season: "It has been an extended pre-season, so there has been a lot of work in the gym in preparation. During the last six to eight weeks, we have really started to up the rugby.
“We have had three friendlies which have shown us we are doing a lot of good stuff, but we still have things to improve on and, just as importantly, we haven’t come out with any serious injuries. So we’re at a stage now where we are really excited about the Aviva Premiership season kicking off, in just over a week’s time."
"If you look at some of the more established players within our squad, they are still young men. They came into Wasps when they were very young and they’ve got better with every season, so we’re going to see a far stronger squad, alongside the people we have also brought in. We are really pleased how everyone has gelled and there are still one or two additions to come in with the two kiwi boys having not arrived yet. [Frank Halai and Charles Piutau.]
“Strength in depth is huge if you want to play in the top competitions, which we’ve got into this year, so we need that strength in depth and quality."
Wasps' first test comes against Harlequins on Friday 16th October (19:45 KO), before they return to action on their home turf at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday 24th October (14:00 KO).
Commenting on the first challenge of the new season – an away clash against Quins, Young said: "Quins won’t be happy where they finished last season and you can see that in their recruitment, they’ve really gone out aggressively in the market and brought some big-hitters in.
"They play an excellent brand of rugby, and I’m not sure any of the games we played against each other last season, did either Conor [O’Shea] or me any good,” he joked, ‘they are always really tight games which always go to the wire, so I think both of us are on the verge of a heart attack!
“They’re great to watch and always play in the right way, with lots of tries scored and defensive coaches pulling their hair out, but we love playing against them because it is always an exciting game."
Wasps' co-captain Matt Mullan said: “It has been a really long pre-season and the players are itching to get back out there. We’ve had our three pre-season games to get a feel for it and now you just want the Premiership to start.
"It’s a tough start coming to Quins, but we know a great deal about them because we played them a lot last season in both the Aviva Premiership and the European Champions Cup. They’ve always been really close games whenever I’ve played against Quins for Wasps and hopefully we can get off to a good start, but it's going to be a tough challenge.”
Harlequins fly half Nick Evans also previewed the opening round encounter: "It’s the local derby that’s not really a local derby anymore. For a Quins’ or Wasps’ fan it is still a fixture that means a lot, with the rivalry and history between the clubs. So I think there will be a little bit of edge to it, but what you’ve got is two teams that like to play rugby, so hopefully we’ll get a great night."
After the Quins’ game, Wasps will be hosting last season’s Premiership Finalists, Bath, at the Ricoh Arena, on Saturday 24 October, 2pm KO.
Tickets for the Bath game start at just £20 for adults and under 10s go FREE. There is also great value family tickets starting at just £28.
For more information on the special free pint offer and fan village activity for the Wasps v Bath game read here.
To book tickets visit the ticketing page, call us on 02476 786411 or visit us at the Ricoh Arena Ticket Office.