Thomas Young: It’s massive for us
As Wasps prepare for this weekend’s trip to Galway, Thomas Young says that the second in the back-to-back fixtures against Connacht is massive if they want to progress in the competition.
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Last weekend’s fixture at the Ricoh Arena was the first in two back-to-back games against the reigning Pro 12 champions and, having secured a bonus-point win Wasps must now travel to Galway this Saturday in the hope of doing the double over the Irish champions.
Ahead of the trip to the Western Irish province, Thomas Young said that last Sunday’s win will ‘count for nothing’ if the men in black and gold didn’t back it up with a performance at the Sportsground.
“This week is massive for us as a squad. If we want to push on further in the competition we have to go out there and get a win this weekend, otherwise last weekend’s result counts for nothing. It’s massive for us but we’ve trained well so far this week and we’re all looking forward to going out there and hopefully putting in a good performance.
“It was important for us to get the win at the weekend. The pool has been pretty close for the first few rounds so to get the win and go top, especially getting five points at home, the squad’s really happy but we have to back it up this weekend.
“It was difficult for us at times on the weekend, Connacht play a lot with ball in hand so we had to spend large periods defending. We have to be clinical when we do get the ball because we know they won’t kick as much as we’re maybe used to with other sides. It’s up to us to get the ball, keep hold of it and force them into mistakes.”
With a sellout crowd expected, Young is under no illusions about how tough a task faces the side on Sunday.
“Connacht won the Pro 12 last year and they’ve got a good home record but it’s a massive opportunity for us. It’s going to be a big challenge but if we want to push on in the competition we have to go there and get a result. It’s places like the Sportsground that you have to get results if you want to be challenging in this competition so we’re all looking forward to it.
“The first 20 minutes is going to be important. If we can get on top and silence the crowd a bit it will really put us on the front foot. If we don’t and the crowd start to get behind them it’s going to make the afternoon even harder for us but we’ve been to tough places before and we know what that involves.”
Following Sunday’s European clash, Wasps go back into the Aviva Premiership where they face Bath at the Ricoh Arena before travelling to Newcastle before Christmas, but Young says the squad must focus on this weekend before starting to worry about the other big games coming up in the festive period.
“We’ve got big games coming up before Christmas but we have to focus on this weekend and worry about those other games when we come to them. Our run-in to Christmas was always a tough one and we’ve gone alright so far but our focus is going out to Galway and getting a result that would put us in a really good place in terms of qualifying for the next round.”
Young has already featured in 12 games this season, starting in ten of them, and he says he’s enjoying being part of a highly competitive group of back row forwards.
“As a squad we’ve got competition for places in every position. The back row has been like that for a number of seasons now and this year everyone who plays is giving everything to try and keep hold of the shirt. That’s all you can do, play as well as you can, put the team first and hope to be selected again the following week. As a group we’re pushing each other to improve and we’re all working hard together.
“We’ve got a lot of big ball carriers in the back row so my role is slightly different, trying to link up with the backs and doing some of the other work, but it’s all about balance in the back row and I’ll do the role the coaches want me to and what will help the team.”