Match Reaction: Dai Young Post Harlequins

Date: 22 Oct 2017

Following Wasps' win against Harlequins in the European Rugby Champions Cup at the Ricoh Arena, Director of Rugby Dai Young was understandably delighted with the result of the must-win game. His thoughts were also with Quins' centre Francis Saili who had been stretchered off.

"Firstly, from everybody at Wasps, we hope Francis is okay and has a speedy recovery. It looked like quite a nasty knock out there, but it was good to see him sitting up afterwards in the medical room."

On the match, he continued: "I thought we needed that win today. Things haven't been going well for us, but the last couple of games have been a step up in performance. It was by no means perfect today, but I thought our defence was excellent on occasions. We were still a little bit careless with the ball, but the most important thing for us was to get the win." 

Wasps started the game very strongly and scored their first try through Dan Robson after just three minutes, with a training ground move. 

"We've had to change one or two things, to make sure we're not predictable. Sometimes they come off and sometimes they don't, but lucky for us that came off early doors. It was a great start for us and hugely important to get that start. Picking holes, I thought we kicked the ball a little bit too much, but I think you can understand that off the back of four or five losses. We snatched at a couple of passes, so there was certainly a bit of edginess and lack of confidence for want of a better word, but you could see that all oozing back once you saw us score a couple of tries.

"So overall, it wasn't a perfect performance, but defensively it was a real tick in the box and in attack it was a real step up. Obviously we understand there is more improvement to come." 

There were big performances from numerous Wasps players today and Young was keen to praise them all, but asked for comment on a couple of Wasps' England players in particular, Young replied:

"Joe Launchbury doesn't know any other way, I thought he was excellent again. Nathan Hughes was deservedly man of the match. This time last year, we were talking about Nathan potentially being an international and then he was able to pick up some international experience. Now he looks like an international No.8 that's kicking on with a much more rounded game as well. I think everyone looks at his ball carrying, but his defensive capabilities have kicked on as well. He's got a better understanding of the game and is keeping on improving which is frightening. He's still quite young when it comes to age but he put his hand up and led from the front today.

"But for me, there were big performances across the board today. We talked about stepping up and showing what the jersey meant and what it means to play at the Ricoh. I thought they did that to a man today.

"There was lots of effort, lots of commitment, the defence was excellent and probably won us the game today. We were a little bit careless with the ball, but five tries, we are happy with that and we were clinical when we had the opportunities." 

The win leaves Wasps in a stronger position in the pool heading into the difficult double header with La Rochelle in December. 

"We know what a quality team La Rochelle are and they got another bonus point win today. We've got to go again next week against Northampton Saints, and we need to make sure we improve again next week, because that is going to be a tough game for us and then we've got the Anglo-Welsh Cup. I'm sure we're going to get better as the season goes on. We look forward to those two tough games against La Rochelle a little bit further down the track, but we'll enjoy the win tonight and then focus on the Aviva Premiership match against Northampton Saints. "