Press Notes - Wednesday 16 January

Date: 16 Jan 2019

Press Conference Notes

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Leinster Rugby at Ricoh Arena (kick-off 3.15pm).

Here’s what he had to say:

On Thomas Young’s Wales selection

  • I’m really pleased for Thomas and he thoroughly deserves it. He’s got an opportunity now to impress in training and to try and get on the field.
  • He’s been overlooked in the past along with players like Dan Robson but they’re guys who have just got their heads down and continued their form and have kept knocking on the door.
  • He’s had to develop different parts of his game. It was well recognised with his attacking ability that he has the skill to unlock defences and be a link player in an old-fashioned number seven role.
  • He’s got top-line pace which we’ve seen on numerous occasions with support play, getting on people’s shoulders and finishing off tries and he’s always had a high work-rate but this season he’s probably upped his tackle count due to us defending more than in the past.
  • He's also really developed over the ball.

International player selection

  • Hopefully we’ll get as many players as possible in the England squad when that’s announced later this week.
  • That’s part of my job too – to try and do well with Wasps but to also produce players for the national teams as well.
  • It causes the Club some issues when players go away on international duty but it’s part and parcel of the job.

Leinster preview/Bath review

  • Leinster are coming over to win as they want a home quarter-final.
  • It’s certainly a tough prospect, facing what is effectively the Irish national team just before the Six Nations. They’ll all be vying to impress to earn the green jersey in the coming weeks and they’ll want to do the job for Leinster.
  • We need to make sure we’re somewhere near our best or else it could be a tough day and we certainly don’t want that at home against any opposition.
  • Leinster are a quality team as we’ve seen out there in Dublin. We were in that game for 45 minutes but then they changed gear and we couldn’t live with that. We certainly don’t want a repeat of that.
  • We want to go out and give a really good performance and keep on building.
  • Last week I felt we were the better team and should’ve won but we have to keep positive and keep building.
  • We’ve got to defend better than we did out in Ireland. You’ve got to keep hold of the ball and you can’t switch off as they’ve got guys that can hurt you from anywhere on the field.
  • You don’t want them getting an early lead and getting momentum as they’re very hard to turn round.

Team/injury news

  • Thomas Young has a shoulder knock but should be fit for the weekend.
  • Tom Cruse went off with a HIA at the weekend but has passed the initial protocol. It’s the same with Gaby Lovobalavu and it’s a matter of them coming through that.
  • Tommy Taylor and Si McIntyre are still not ready (concussion).
  • Joe Launchbury has a hamstring strain but will hopefully be fit.
  • Joe Simpson is back in training and may come into contention for the weekend.
  • James Gaskell is back in full training.
  • Ashley Johnson has an abdominal injury but should be back soon.

Player departures/signings

  • Nothing seems to be a secret in the world of rugby. Things get leaked by players and agents and it provides a difficult situation for DORs to be in because there are certain restrictions.
  • You want to announce things or confirm things earlier but there are sometimes reasons behind the scenes why you can’t.
  • The player, the team they’re going to, the agent – to get all ducks in a row isn’t as simple as you think.
  • There will be more players going and other players coming in but it’s part and parcel of every club.
  • The first thing we look at is how can you improve the playing experience so that players don’t want to leave. How can you improve the environment so that people feel this is the place to be.
  • Certainly with people leaving, I feel we’ve done as much as we possibly could have to try and keep them and while the circumstances of why they’ve left are disappointing, we do get it and you understand that it’s professional sport and it’s a short career.
  • My job is to look at how we can make the environment better, playing experience better and making sure we do everything we can to keep players. That’s a process that’s important to us and it's an ongoing one.