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Wasps ready for test against tenacious Tigers

Published 09/09/2016

Rugby director Dai Young will send his Wasps team into Aviva Premiership action against Leicester on Saturday
Rugby director Dai Young will send his Wasps team into Aviva Premiership action against Leicester on Saturday

Wasps boss Dai Young has highlighted Leicester's "never-say-die attitude" after they began the Aviva Premiership season with a remarkable comeback win.

Young's team face the Tigers at Welford Road on Saturday, with Leicester returning to action following a stunning second-half display against Gloucester, when they wiped out a 24-point deficit with 33 minutes left to win 38-31.

"Everyone saw what Leicester are capable of when they came back to win that game against Gloucester," Young said.

"We all know about the Tigers' spirit and their never-say-die attitude. They are never beaten until the final whistle, and we saw that again from them last week.

"For us, the focus is on trying to back up last weekend's performance, at a difficult place in Welford Road."

Wasps also had to fight back from a second-half deficit in their Premiership opener, as they overcame a 20-8 score against Ricoh Arena visitors Exeter to win by five points thanks to a Tommy Taylor try and Jimmy Gopperth's goal-kicking.

"It has obviously been good to train on the back of a win this week, but there has still been plenty to work on," Young added.

"Our second-half performance was far better than our first half last Sunday, and we managed to get ourselves over the line, but we know we will need to step up again if we are to be in with a chance of getting the result we want against the Tigers."

Bath, impressive opening-weekend winners at Northampton, will be without injured Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau against Recreation Ground visitors Newcastle on Saturday, but lock Luke Charteris makes his Premiership debut.

Newcastle opened up with a narrow home victory over Sale, and Falcons rugby director Dean Richards said: "Our away form is one of the things we have talked about. We didn't win one away in the league last season, and we know we need to alleviate that.

"We feel we are much better equipped this year, especially when you consider we had 19 or 20 injuries last summer, plus a load of guys away at the World Cup. This time, we are in a far better position with a much stronger squad and far fewer injuries.

"They (Bath) have spent a lot of money and are looking pretty strong. It will be a tough game for us, but we should have won down there towards the end of last season.

"We were a drop-goal away that night, and we beat them up at our place, so they don't hold any fear for us. It's just a case of turning it on, understanding what we need to do and making it happen on the field.

"You only have to look at our results last year in terms of how many games we lost in the last few minutes, or in which we were only a couple of points adrift.

"Winning those games is the most important thing, and if we do, then we will climb the ladder pretty quickly. The players all understand that. They are switched on to what is needed and are putting in the work."

Sunday's Premiership action, meanwhile, sees newly-promoted Bristol make a first appearance of the campaign on home soil at Ashton Gate, where Northampton are their opponents, and Sandy Park is the venue for a re-run of last season's Premiership final as Exeter host league champions Saracens.

Saracens are again without fly-half Owen Farrell, who has been recovering from injury, but Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said: "Owen was touch and go for Sunday, having taken part in training this week.

"We have a long season ahead of us, so we made the call not to bring him back too early, and in Alex Lozowski, we have an extremely talented fly-half who we are excited to see in a Saracens shirt."

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