Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Young calls for muscular approach

Dai Young is fully aware of the threat Saracens pose

Wasps are braced for a stern physical test against Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens on Saturday when they continue their battle for Heineken Cup qualification.

Rugby director Dai Young admits that his team was "outmuscled" by Adams Park visitors Northampton last Saturday, even though Wasps only suffered a 26-24 defeat. And there promises to be no respite this weekend when Saracens - currently five points clear at the Premiership summit - come calling.

"We were outmuscled last weekend, and you can't say that Northampton hadn't done enough to win it," Young said. "But we showed our ability to play some really high-quality rugby to get back into it, and we had our noses in front going into the last few minutes. We have had a tough time of it in specific areas up front in the last few games, and teams are starting to target us."

He added: "The boys were very disappointed with that in our review this week, and we are working incredibly hard to get that right. We know we have a chance of winning any game with the kind of ability we have in attack when we get good ball."

Wasps are currently sixth in the Premiership - good enough to secure a Heineken Cup place next season - but that could change if they lose against Saracens and Bath beat relegation favourites London Welsh.

Gloucester boss Nigel Davies will send his team into battle against "trail-blazing" Harlequins on Friday night knowing victory is essential for their Premiership play-off hopes. Defeat against Quins - the Londoners have not won a Premiership game at Kingsholm since 1999 - would leave Gloucester facing an uphill struggle in terms of achieving top-four status.

"What we've done this week is look within ourselves as a group," said Davies, whose players only edged past London Welsh 15-14 last Saturday. "We have just refocused on what is important to us and looked at the individuals that we have within the team and what we are capable of. It's a big game against a tough opponent."

Davies has made five changes from the London Welsh encounter, although only one behind the scrum, where centre Henry Trinder takes over from Mike Tindall. Up front, there are starts for hooker Koree Britton, lock Lua Lokotui and flankers Tom Savage and Akapusi Qera.

As expected, Quins have rested their captain and England skipper Chris Robshaw, with Luke Wallace packing down alongside back-row colleagues Tom Guest and Nick Easter, who leads the side.

Bath versus London Welsh apart, Saturday's other fixtures see Northampton hosting Leicester and Exeter travelling to Worcester.

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