Press Notes - Monday 18 March
By Klinks
March 22 2019

Press Conference Notes Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young spoke to the media ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm (kick-off 3pm). Here’s what he had to say:

Gloucester preview

  • They’ve recruited well. They’ve got big physical forwards up front, they carry to the gainline very strongly and penetrate, while they have Danny Cipriani behind, so if they get some quality front-foot ball and he gets a platform to deliver, it’s going to be a tough game.
  • They’ve had an excellent season with no real disruptions, and they’re good for where they are and deserve to be there.
  • They’re going to be difficult so we know how tough it’s going to be on Saturday.

Team/injury news

  • Thomas Young (hip pointer) and Jack Willis (ankle strain) are with the physios at the moment so we won’t know if they’re good for the weekend just yet.
  • Michele Campagnaro broke his foot away with Italy so he’s out for an estimated 10-12 weeks.
  • Dan Robson needs to undergo more tests in the coming weeks and so there’s no return-to-play date at this time. He suffered blood clots which arose spontaneously last week and is being evaluated and treated by specialists at the moment. He’s limited in what he can do at this time but he’s in good spirits.
  • All the internationals return this week although there are a couple of bumps and bruises. There’s no game next week so they’ll have the week off then. That’s something we’ve always done with Six Nations players – it’s important they get a breather from it. It’s easy to see in the guys that do play a lot, but it’s also the guys who haven’t played so much. It’s the mental side of things too with all the training and preparation so it’s important they get that week off.
  • Simon McIntyre is back in training.
  • Alex Rieder is not far off, he may figure in next week's Premiership Rugby Shield game at Northampton Wanderers.
  • Jimmy Gopperth and Kieran Brookes are looking like they’ll return nearer the Exeter game.
  • Jake Cooper-Woolley could be in line this week. If he comes through training he could figure.
  • We’ve got a Premiership Rugby Shield game with Northampton Wanderers on Monday night so any guys coming back from injury will probably have some involvement in either that or the first-team this weekend. Some guys have been out a long, long time and need a hit-out before they get put into the first-team so we’ll assess as we go on, but that A League game comes at a good time to give an opportunity for some valuable gametime.

On recent form

  • When things don’t go your way, you just want to get back on the horse as quickly as possible. Everyone can see that there were a couple of games in the recent block where they could’ve easily gone our way and we’d have had a bit more of a smile on our faces but that wasn’t to be.
  • There were two games where we should’ve won to give us a really good shot at that top four and now it’s going to be tough for us. We have to pick up a lot of points now in the run-in.
  • It’s been a difficult season but we can salvage something if we get some good results between now and the end of the season, starting this weekend. Everyone is more or less playing everyone so there are going to be lots of teams dropping points.
  • Anything that can go wrong this season, has gone wrong for us. We certainly want to salvage something and we do have some guys coming back so hopefully we can have a strong finish and that’ll take us where it’ll take us.

On Josh Bassett (who could be set for 100th Wasps appearance v Gloucester)

  • He’s worked on parts of his game and he’s improved in lots of areas and that’s a testament to his professionalism and his appetite in wanting to always improve.
  • There are still some areas to improve but he’s been pretty consistent for us and I still think there’s a lot more to come.
  • If you look at what some might consider our best 23, most of them have played about 30-40% of games but Josh has probably been the exception.

On coaching set-up/plans

  • We want to improve the coaching set-up as we only have three and want some experience to add to the group.
  • We don’t envisage there being any announcements for weeks.

On Academy and players playing in U20 Six Nations

  • It was fantastic for the Club to see the success of the likes of Tom Willis, Alfie Barbeary and Cameron Anderson on Friday night (after all three scored in the match between England U20s and Scotland U20s).
  • My ideal goal is for the first-team to be built on strong foundations of English-born players and coming through our Academy, and that hasn’t been the case in the last few seasons because we simply haven’t had the quality coming through due to factors such as moving to this area from London and not knowing which areas we’ve got. But now we know which areas we’ve got, we’ve invested in the Academy and that takes two or three years at least to bear any fruit.
  • It was great to see them performing on the big stage as that’s the path we want to go down and see these guys coming through.
  • We have to try and plan so these guys can break through into the first-team down the line and these are the types of players who we will see featuring in the first-team in coming seasons.