Press Notes - Tuesday 15 October

Date: 15 Oct 2019

Press Conference Notes

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young spoke to the media ahead of Sunday's Gallagher Premiership season-opener against London Irish at Ricoh Arena (kick-off 3pm).

Here’s what he had to say:

On win over Worcester Warriors

  • Both teams were poor first-half. We certainly didn’t have the accuracy in the first-half which allowed us to play the way we wanted to play. It was disappointing but we went in ahead.
  • In the second-half we started to get far more penetration when we had the ball, broke the gainline with carriers, and started to get quick-ball. We’re a difficult team to stop when we’re like that.
  • To nil them try-wise was a real bonus. I was really pleased with the second-half but hopefully we don’t have too many of those first-half displays this season.

On defence

  • Our defence was always a bit of a work-in-progress last season. Defensively the second-half of last season we were far better and among the top four. The players and I are totally convinced Cos (Ian Costello) is taking us forward and hopefully the weekend is the start of everyone else seeing that as well.
  • It’s certainly going in the right direction but it’s not the finished article. The last five minutes v Worcester typified it for me. We’d won the game and in lots of people’s heads you could’ve said it doesn’t really matter if they score. But it’s that ruthless mentality you want your defence to have and we made sure we didn’t let them get any points at the death.

On London Irish

  • It’s important we perform well at The Ricoh. We want to turn it back into a fortress because for two-and-a-half seasons, very few teams have come here and actually won.
  • Our form hasn’t been great over the last year and we’re determined to turn that around. It’s a big start for us.
  • You probably don’t want a newly-promoted team first as it’s certainly going to be their cup final but it’s up to us to ensure we dominate proceedings. They’ll chuck everything at us on the weekend and we’re going to have to be on our mettle.
  • They will have been looking forward to this from the day they went down and will want to show everyone they’re a Premiership team and have the right to be there.
  • They have a decent pack of forwards, good defence and threats around the park but I believe it’s more about us than them.
  • We respect them, we know how tough it’s going to be, but if we play to our potential, we’ll win. We have to get consistency of performance for 80 minutes, not just 40.

On Lima Sopoaga

  • It was great to see him coming off with a big smile on his face at the weekend. He put in some wonderful passes, produced a nice kicking game and looked on his toes.
  • He’s looking forward to getting out there. I’m confident he’ll kick on. Hopefully this season he can show everyone the good player that we know he is.

Injury news

  • Tom Willis came back from the World U20 Championship with a groin problem and is still not quite right. He’s a couple of weeks away from returning.
  • Thomas Young is a bit slow with his rehab and about 4-6 weeks away (calf).

On Matteo Minozzi

  • We’ve given him this week off but we’d like him back in Coventry next weekend, so he’s reporting for training next week.
  • It’s doubtful he’ll be involved next week. Fitness levels won’t be an issue, it’s just about getting used to everything. If he’s fit and well he could be involved but we’ll put him in when we feel the time is right

On full-back position

  • With Matteo away, we identified that Rob Miller was our only out-and-out full-back option.
  • We have got others who can play there – Marcus Watson is one and he has ran there in training.
  • We would’ve looked at Jacob Umaga in pre-season but with Billy Searle and Lima Sopoaga not back till late, Jacob obviously had to focus at ten and did a great job there

Get your hands on tickets for this weekend's clash v London Irish, where we are also hosting oompah entertainment as part of Wasptoberfest, from just £19 for adults by clicking the link below or calling 02476 786411.