Press Notes - Tuesday 17 September

Date: 17 Sep 2019

Press Conference Notes

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young spoke to the media ahead of Saturday's season-opener in the Premiership Rugby Cup against Saracens (kick-off 1pm).

Here’s what he had to say:

Premiership Sevens
• It would’ve been nice to win but I think all the Wasps supporters went home with a smile on their faces. It gave them an opportunity to see some of the younger guys and new guys and they really impressed.
• I was really pleased how the new guys fitted in and there was further evidence that some of the younger guys have got big futures.

Premiership Cup preview
• We went on record last season as saying we didn’t have a squad capable really of competing on all fronts and focusing on one or two competitions - but we picked up some bad results and that added a negative feel.
• We’re planning to put out the strongest team we can really in every competition this season but also to be sensible as well. It’s about building a winning mentality and putting pride back into that jersey so that anyone wearing the shirt - no matter what competition it is - we’re going to give a good account of ourselves.
• Because there are four games in the Cup to start, we’re going to mix and match a little bit which will be determined on how much training the players have done rather than who they are. We have four games up first in the Cup, and at least 16 games on the bounce to kick the season off before you can even think about getting a rest in.
• We’ve got to make sure the guys have had enough game-time before they head into the Premiership but not so much that they’ve had several games under their belts.
• We see this as the season starting. We’re not necessarily picking what people would feel is our best 23 for the first few games but we are picking the guys who have trained the most so it will be a mixture but they will certainly be teams we think are strong enough to compete.
• We’re playing against some good teams and I don’t know what they’re going to do but for the fourth game it’ll be pretty near what we’ll start the Premiership season with.
• Everyone has a bit of a different focus for the competition. But I’m pretty confident that within the four games we’ll see everyone within the squad.
Season preview/targets
• We have reset. New signings have come in and added some energy along with players stepping up from the Academy and players from last season who were disappointed with how the season went for us. There’s certainly a different air about the place. There’s a lot more energy, excitement, determination and eagerness to get out on the field.
• My target has always been for us to be a consistent top-six team and consistently push for that top four and if you can get into that, then you’ve got a chance at the end of the season.
• We obviously want to get to the latter stages of other competitions that we’re playing in as well. We are going to give it our best shot in all of them.
• I’ve been really pleased with what the coaches have done in pre-season, with how the players have really worked their socks off and we’re looking forward to the start of the season.

Co-captains Thomas Young and Dan Robson
• A lot of the guys who were in the leadership group when we were back at Acton have moved on or retired so we’ve had to establish a new group.
• Joe Launchbury being the Club captain demonstrates all the qualities you want but he’s probably not going to be around too much this season because of the World Cup and we’ll expect him to go to the Six Nations. So obviously we’re not going to see him much so that’s where I felt we had to look at the captaincy to help drive those standards in Joe’s absence.
• On occasions last season I think we had a little bit of a void when Joe wasn’t playing. With two young guys (Thomas and Dan) we have everything we’re looking for and I thought it was beneficial for them to share the role being new to the captaincy but they’ve established a leadership group underneath them that will help push standards on and off the field and for us to be the best we can be and that’s all you can ask for individually and collectively.

Sione Vailanu
• He has already been training with Tonga right through the summer so he’s in a good place and eager to get out there.
• He’s a big ball-carrier and he should certainly be able to get us over the gainline.
• He fits into the way we want to play the game. You’ve got to play it on the front foot with some penetration and he will hopefully give us that.

• They don’t do a lot wrong. We all know their stars and most are at the World Cup but we know it’ll still be a tough challenge.
• You don’t sit at the top of the Premiership year on year without a good squad.
• It will give us a good indication of where we are but we’re just eager to get out there at The Ricoh.

Tickets to Wasps v Saracens this weekend are available at just £10 for adults and FREE for under 10s by clicking the link below or calling 02476 786411.