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Dai Young not daunted as Wasps prepare to face Toulon

Published 21/11/2015

Wasps rugby director Dai Young says his players will not be daunted by facing European Champions Cup holders Toulon
Wasps rugby director Dai Young says his players will not be daunted by facing European Champions Cup holders Toulon

Dai Young says that Wasps will not be daunted by the challenge that awaits them against European Champions Cup holders Toulon on Sunday.

The French heavyweights arrive in Coventry to face a Wasps side buzzing from last weekend's 33-6 demolition of Leinster.

And while Toulon have lost only one of their last 16 games in top-flight European competition - 25-21 at Leicester a year ago - Wasps hope they can make another major Pool Five statement this weekend.

"It was a great performance by our squad last week, but we know we need to back it up this weekend," Wasps rugby director Young said.

"There has been no time to rest on our laurels, that's for sure. Toulon coming to town certainly focuses the mind, and we are really looking forward to the challenge they present.

"As a player and as a coach, you want to test yourself against the very best. These are the challenges you dream of.

"Playing the reigning champions, on your own turf, is an occasion that doesn't come around very often. We will look to embrace that and try to make sure we play to our potential to do ourselves justice.

"Toulon are a fantastic team. They have deservedly won the (European) title three years running, but our squad won't be daunted.

"We need to draw on our experience out in Toulon last season, when we faced them in the quarter-final.

"They deservedly won that game, but we caused them a few problems along the way and we need to build on our second-half performance in the south of France that afternoon."

England flanker James Haskell returns to the Wasps line-up after recovering from a knee injury as Young's solitary change from the team on duty in Dublin six days ago.

Haskell packs down alongside ex-Toulon star George Smith and Nathan Hughes in the back-row, while one replacements' bench switch sees prop Lorenzo Cittadini featuring among the front-row cover following a one-match suspension.

Clermont Auvergne, beaten by Toulon in last season's Champions Cup final at Twickenham, face a Pool Two appointment with the Ospreys on Sunday, hoping that Stade Marcel Michelin can again be a European fortress for them.

The Ospreys, though, saw off Exeter last weekend after fly-half Dan Biggar kicked 20 points in a 25-13 success, while centre Josh Matavesi's late interception try helped deny Chiefs a losing bonus point.

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said: "This weekend's game is definitely one that will keep us grounded, if that was needed.

"We are aware of how tough it is going to be, of Clermont's record at their ground, but these are the kinds of challenges that you have to enjoy as rugby players and coaches.

"A few of our group have been there before and understand what kind of environment we are stepping into, and they've told the rest of the squad that they should be excited about Sunday.

"We have prepared well this week and are heading to France confident that if we have clarity, if everybody knows their roles, then we can cause them problems.

"Fail to hit the required standard, fall short in any area of our game, and it will be a long afternoon."

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