With the squad back at Broadstreet after a three-day rest to recover from the five-day-turnaround against Ulster, players and coaches have been working hard on the training pitch to produce the performance they want against Harlequins this Sunday.
Ahead of the round two clash, which in essence is a must-win game for both sides, Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said:
“It’s a massive game for both clubs. It’s two teams going in knowing how important it is. If we don’t get the result we want this week, realistically we will need to do something pretty special in the last four games to qualify. We have to win if we really want to make a dent in this European competition, otherwise we have to rely on other results. It’s a massive European game and we want to get back to winning at the Ricoh as quickly as possible.
“We need to defend with the same attitude and spirit as the last couple of games, but we also need to control the ball better, have better game management, play in the right areas and be a little more creative, and when we do create those opportunities we need to nail them.
“What we have re-iterated is that what we did last year is last year. Our challenge is to find keys to unlock defenses and so far we haven’t done that. We need to work hard on that, be smarter, adapt to the change at the contact area where there are more defenders on their feet and make sure we click and start firing. The last couple of games have been a step up in intensity and we’ve looked more of a team. I think that win is just around the corner and when that comes our confidence will grow.
“We won 11 games last season by one score or less. I said at the start of this season we had to improve by 10% and that hasn’t happened yet. We’re not playing quite as well as we were last season for various reasons and other teams have improved. We have to keep working at it until our game improved and we are working extremely hard to achieve that.”
Alongside the work on the training field, there were the weekly press duties where Young was also asked about media speculation linking him to being on a shortlist for the Wales job in a couple of years’ time. The WRU haven’t named any candidates, but have suggested they are drawing up a shortlist. Regardless of media speculation, Young made clear his entire focus was on Wasps and the sizeable challenge ahead of the squad this weekend in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
“I understand why you ask the question,” he said, “because I’ve been told about the reports and so obviously I’ve read them. The WRU have outlined their plans for the way forward in terms of timings for an announcement and that’s their prerogative. I get why the media will then come up with their own shortlists for who could be in the frame for that role, but that has nothing to do with me. My 100% focus all this season so far and for the foreseeable future is on Wasps and nothing else.”