Press Notes - Tuesday 4 December

Date: 4 Dec 2018

Press Conference Notes

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Toulouse at Ricoh Arena (kick-off 5.30pm).

Here’s what he had to say:

Saracens review

  • There were basic errors at really important parts of the game. Like when it was 6-3 and 9-3, when we started to get momentum, we made basic errors and kept handing possession back to the opposition and if you do that, at some point they’re going to get some points.
  • We turned the ball over too many times at the weekend and that has to improve.
  • From a positive point of view – even though we’re never going to pat ourselves on the back for losing a game – the last two games we’ve started to look a little bit like our old selves.
  • We looked more structured in our attacking game and we looked more organised in our defensive structures and were far harder to break down so that was a pleasing thing.
  • We’re nowhere near where we want to be but we’re certainly starting to look better than we have previously. We look like we are starting to click as a team, we just need to fix some individual errors like handling errors and bad passes, knock-ons - unforced errors really.

Toulouse preview

  • It’s a great game to take to the Ricoh. The history and tradition that Toulouse obviously bring to the European competition is there for all to see.
  • Everyone will be excited to see them. They are a quality team, their offloading game is second to none and they have big physical players who can get over the gainline and not only that, but keep the ball moving with offloads.
  • We’re going to have to be at our best. It’s a knockout game really.
  • If we don’t win this game we’ll be struggling to get through. We won’t throw the towel in but if we don’t win this game we put ourselves under a huge amount of pressure and it will be very hard to progress if we don’t get the result on Saturday.
  • Coming into this Double Header we need to aim to win at home and try and at least get something in France. We want to go into the last two games in January with a chance of getting through to the knockouts.
  • They’re a typical French side so they’ll have a big set of forwards who will cause you problems if you’re not on the money.
  • They carry the ball really strongly, always get on the front foot but what they do add to their game, which perhaps some other French sides don’t have, is that offloading game.
  • Every one of their forwards is looking to offload so if you don’t win those collisions and tie the ball up, they’re going to get that ball away. It’s very difficult to get any defensive structure and they’re always going to break it with offloads. If we can disrupt that we can cause them lots of problems. They’ve got flair behind too.

Toulouse preparation

  • We’re trying to make it a little different. Just little things like European music going around the place and when we do the presentations, European music in the background. You just want the boys to realise it’s something different.
  • We’ve been mentioning all week about how hard it is to get into Europe. You work your socks off for ten months in the league to make sure you’re in the competition and you want to experience the big games.
  • Matches against French teams are different and it does add a bit of excitement playing at the Ricoh - it adds something special. That’s what we’ll be putting across as management and the coaching team and I do sense it from the players too.
  • There is an added spice and intensity in training and everyone looks forward to playing in this competition.
  • We’ll also have a focus on what referees’ traits are. Sometimes they differ from game to game. We are trying to replicate in training what they’re like in a game - the time to crouch, bind, and how long you’re going to be there.

Team/injury news

  • Kieran Brookes has a bit of a tight groin so we’ll have to look at him later in the week.
  • It’s a race against time to try and get Will Stuart (neck) and Jake Cooper-Woolley (ribs) back.
  • Simon McIntyre and Tommy Taylor are not going to be available for the weekend. They are seeing a specialist this week about their concussion symptoms. They’re looking a lot better but even if they get ticked off, it won’t be in time for the weekend. Player welfare comes first with us.
  • Tom Cruse (ribs) and Thomas Young (hamstring and calf) should be okay after knocks a fortnight ago.
  • Ashley Johnson (knee) should be coming back but it’s a race against time.
  • James Gaskell (back) is unlikely to be fit.
  • Josh Bassett was rested last week but will be back for the weekend.