Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Young's warning for Wasps

Dai Young is wary of facing a wounded London Irish on Sunday

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has prepared his men for the threat of relegation battlers London Irish by reminding them just how desperate they were at the same stage last season.

Wasps secured their Aviva Premiership survival on the final day of last season but Young has overseen such a turnaround that Heineken Cup rugby is now a "realistic target".

At the other end of the table, London Irish are just one point off the bottom of the table, and Young said: "We know that they are desperate for points and we know know exactly how much that can drive you after our experiences last season."

He added: "I have no doubt they are targeting their home games hard and the fact that they beat Saracens there last time out highlights that."

A Wasps victory would take them back above Gloucester and into the top four and they feature three changes from the side that beat the Cherry and Whites last weekend.

Prop Will Taylor makes his first Premiership start and Jonathan Poff returns to the back row, replacing Billy Vunipola who was injured on England duty. Elliot Daly, who also spent the majority of this week training with the national team, returns at outside centre alongside Chris Bell.

"Top six is now a very realistic target for us and if we can secure Heineken Cup qualification after what we went through last year that will be a huge boost," Young added.

London Irish start with Ofisa Treviranus and Chris Hala'ufia in their back row, while Sailosi Tagicakibau has recovered from a knee injury to be named on the bench.

Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith said: "Wasps are a formidable team riding high in the Premiership so they'll give us a very tough test.

"We do pretty well against the top four teams at home and our boys are itching to put in a big performance for our supporters on Sunday."

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