Dai Young: Wasps must forget Rugby Champions Cup loss
London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young urges his side to put their Rugby Champions Cup loss behind them
Dai Young has urged his players to put last week’s thrashing to Northampton Saints behind them ahead of their Rugby Champions Cup qualification play-offs.
The Wasps director of rugby admitted there was disappointment at the manner of their 74-13 defeat in the final round of the Aviva Premiership season.
But there are more important things for his club to focus on this month, starting with Stade Français’s visit to Adams Park on Sunday.
“We would be absolutely thrilled if we were to reach the European Rugby Champions Cup—it’s where the supporters, players and the club want to be,” said Young.
“It would be a year ahead of where we were expecting to be in the building process, but we are so close now and we will give everything in our power to get there.
“I think people will understand, we’re not in a position where we can dwell on it too long. These two play-off games are huge for the club, the players and our supporters.
“No matter who was playing last week, we are all in this together. We win together, we lose together. There has been a lot of hurt around the camp, so it may be the ideal time to go into this game.
“We’ve all looked at where we need to improve and I’ve been very pleased with the response players have shown in training. The intensity has been good and now we need to translate that onto the pitch on Sunday.”
The magnitude of the defeat at Franklin’s Gardens in addition to a 44-38 win at home to Newcastle Falcons means Wasps have given up over 100 points in just two games – and Young doesn’t believe it will get any easier with Stade Français boasting a number of southern hemisphere internationals.
“Our focus is on producing two decent performances against Stade Français, and hopefully two wins, to get us into the top European competition next season,” Young added.
“We only had 23 players fit to train before Northampton, but we hope to have the majority of players who had knocks, back this weekend, which was always the intention.
“Stade Français are a quality side. They are big and powerful right across the board, full of international stars and world renowned names. We’ve planned for every eventuality, but whatever team they put out, it will be quality from one to 23.
“We will give Stade Français the respect they deserve and try to work our way through their strengths and weaknesses but, as normal, it will be up to us to impose our own game and play the game we want to play with ball in hand.
“We need to get our set-piece right and obviously our defence has to step up. It’s been a strong part of our game all season, so I don’t expect it to be any different in these two games. We just need to make sure the bite and attitude is spot on.”
“Defence normally gives an indication of the mindset of a team and that mindset wasn’t right the last couple of games given the way we leaked tries.
“Certainly, up until those two games, our defence and attitude had been excellent, so we need to recapture that hunger and desire, and produce the work rate and attitude in defence to give ourselves a good chance. I’m sure we will do that on Sunday.”