Dai Young on the 2017/18 European draw
Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young gives his thoughts after Wasps were drawn in Pool 1 of next season’s European Champions Cup, against La Rochelle, Ulster and Harlequins.
“You don’t get any easy games in Europe and you go into the tournament knowing that every game will be a massive test. The draw could have been worse and it could have been better. If you look across all five pools, there are no real easy games there and our group is the same as anyone else’s, any team can come out of it really.
“La Rochelle had a great season last season, they have a massive pack and are really formidable at home, so that will be a really tough test for us. We finished the regular part of last season top of the Aviva Premiership and La Rochelle finished it top of the Top 14, so that should be a really interesting couple of games.
“I know Ulster very well from my Cardiff days and it’s always very difficult to go to Ravenhill and get a result, it’s a bit of a fortress, so that’s another tough one for us. It’s always a fantastic atmosphere there and they’ve spent big again on their squad to make improvements on the pitch. Obviously, Charles Piutau is there and I’m sure our guys will enjoy catching up with him after the game.
“Then we have our old mates Harlequins, whenever we play them the game has the ability to go either way, we’ve had some brilliant clashes with them over there years, and I have no doubt these two in Europe next season will be no different.
“I think the great thing for Wasps fans is that, obviously we play Quins quite a bit, but La Rochelle and Ulster are sides that we don’t get many chances to play against and they’re both interesting places to go. I understand that La Rochelle is a beautiful place so I’m sure that will be a destination our travelling support will enjoy! Ulster is a fantastic atmosphere and if you haven’t gone to Ravenhill and witnessed a game there it is something to behold. As I’ve mentioned, trips to The Stoop are always eventful, so we’re in for some great games for the Wasps supporters.
“It doesn’t matter what team you are, it’s a pretty unforgiving tournament. To make it through to the knockout stages you need a bit of luck; you need your best players available for these games and you need the referee’s decisions to go your way. You have to take one game at a time and it’s a group that we’ll definitely have to do that with.”
The 2017/18 European Champions Cup pool draw
Wasps, ranked 2 as Premiership runners-up, were drawn in Tier 1 alongside Exeter Chiefs, Scarlets, Clermont and Munster and were allocated to Pool 1.
Round 1: 12/13/14/15 October 2017
Round 2: 19/20/21/22 October 2017
Round 3: 7/8/9/10 December 2017
Round 4: 14/15/16/17 December 2017
Round 5: 11/12/13/14 January 2018
Round 6: 18/19/20/21 January 2018
Quarter-finals: 29/30/31 March / 1 April 2018
Semi-finals: 20/21/22 April 2018
Champions Cup final: Saturday 12 May 2018 (San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
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