Match Reaction: Dai Young Post Saracens
Following Wasps' defeat away to Saracens at Allianz Park, director of rugby Dai Young was as honest as ever in his appraisal, saying:
“The biggest frustration was coming somewhere like this and switching off a couple of times in the first-half and giving ourselves a mountain to climb.
“I'm really disappointed with the first 20 minutes. We had physicality in attack and defence, but they scored a try off of our lineout, which is a bit of a “gimme”. The second was pretty unacceptable, as I've said to the players. They get a penalty and we switch off and turn our backs. You can't come to anyone's ground and give them a 15-point start, let alone the European champions. It forces you into playing a slightly different game.”
On a positive note, Young was happy with the resilience shown by the squad to fight their way back into the contest after a disappointing opening quarter:
“In the first 25 minutes we made five or six last-ditch tackles. After the start we had, if we didn't have character and togetherness, it could have been a cricket score. I was really pleased to see the attitude, desire and commitment was there.
“We just need to be far more effective with the ball and the gain-line is huge for us because this season, there aren’t many players competing at the break-down. There are a lot of numbers on their feet and we have tended to push the ball deeper and deeper and get caught further back. That's not part of the plan, but that's what has unfolded in the last couple of games. We have to be far more direct in getting over the gain-line. We're asking too much of our players to play from too deep.”
Asked by journalists about the 15 players sidelined by injury, Young refused to look to it as an excuse:
"At the end of the day, whoever puts the jersey on has to go out and do the job and I have faith in them to do that. We know we’ve got a lot of experienced starting players out, but we've just got to deal with it. It's too easy an excuse for us. When those players come back it will put us in a better position, we realise that.
“We've lost four games on the bounce, I know we haven't done that for a while. When you look at the reality of the fixtures, the two disappointing ones are the two at home because we built that up as a bit of a fortress.
“Here at Allianz Park is a little bit different. You can have your best team out and still have to do something special to come here and win, or go to Sandy Park and win against Exeter, so it's not the disaster it might look from the outside at this moment in time.
“We've got to get as many players back fit as soon as possible and we've got a bit of time to recover as it’s a long season. It's not an ideal start and it's certainly not part of the plan. Of course it's a concern when you lose games, but we just have to keep pulling together and get the best out of what we've got and when you bring those guys back in, we can move on a level.
“You have to deal with what you've got and as far as I'm concerned, the first thing we have to look at is us as coaches. We will get better when players come back, without a doubt, but we've got to get more out of this group. That's the challenge on us as coaches. It's my responsibility to get it right. I asked the players to give me everything today, energy and commitment and to be fair I think they did that, so I'm not going to knock the players. There are things we can do better, of course we can but we just have to keep together and keep working.
“Europe is probably something that we need now as it's a new competition a fresh focus, the slate's wiped clean and we can start again.”
Asked about the performances of some of Wasps’ Premiership newcomers and the impact of the younger players in today’s game, Young was complimentary about the contribution of the new players coming through.
“There are always positives and I thought Jack Willis and Thomas Young played well in the back row. It was great to see Tom Willis coming on for his Premiership debut too, he had some excellent carries. Some of the younger boys stood up really well and I couldn't ask for much more. Marcus Garratt, who has only had a season playing for our A team, was up against a lot of British and Irish Lions, but he stuck in there and did well, so I'm pleased with the young guys and Jack was excellent, so there are positives there.”