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Dai Young says Wasps can shock Tigers

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young is confident his side can defy the odds and inflict a shock defeat on Leicester on Sunday.

Wasps have lost their last six matches at Welford Road and Richard Cockerill's side are second in the table after two wins out of two so far.

It means Wasps, buoyant after a 16-9 success over Bath last weekend, will have to be at their best to cause an upset, but Young believes his players are capable of raising their game.

"Playing Leicester Tigers at Welford Road is one of the toughest challenges a Premiership side will face," Young told the club's official website.

"Since I've been at Wasps, we haven't yet managed to sneak a win there and we're not alone in that.

"There aren't many teams that have won consistently at Welford Road. That's one of the reasons Leicester have been so successful over as many years as it's possible to remember.

"We know we're going to have to be somewhere near our best on Sunday if we are to get the result we want, but there is no reason why we can't be.

"I'm confident that, if we play to our potential, we can go there and win, but we will need to perform at the top of our game."

The two clubs are the most successful in Premiership history, with Leicester boasting five titles and Wasps four, including three in a row between 2003 and 2005.

On the field, however, Wasps have struggled to keep up with Tigers in recent years, but their move to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry has reignited the rivalry.

"There's an historic rivalry between Wasps and Leicester which has been at the heart of English rugby in years gone by," Young said.

"Obviously, Wasps have had a couple of lean years, but we're hoping to get back there.

"The supporters certainly have huge respect for each other, but you can definitely sense a rivalry between Wasps and Leicester which has been built on historic successes."

Leicester have beaten London Irish and Harlequins in the opening two rounds of fixtures, but director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes Wasps will offer a stern test this weekend.

"Wasps are top-four contenders, definitely," Cockerill told the official club website.

"They have made some smart signings, they are well coached and it will be a good contest.

"We played well in the win at London Irish in round one, but we were poor last week against Quins and we've been working on the issues from that.

"But we're getting bodies back, we're getting game time and we're working on how we want to play the game."

Elsewhere, Exeter travel to Newcastle hoping to avenge last season's surprise 29-24 defeat at Kingston Park.

The defeat proved particularly costly as Rob Baxter's side went on to miss out on the top four on points difference to Saracens.

"Last season's defeat sticks in the memory," Baxter told Exeter's website.

"When you end the season and are equal on points with other teams, but don't go into the top four due to points difference then you do look at games you lost.

"This is a very important game for us and a chance to show that we have learned lessons from last season."

Also in action on Sunday are Sale and Northampton, who face off at AJ Bell Stadium.

Sale bounced back from an opening day thrashing by Saracens to beat Worcester last weekend, while Northampton, who lost to Worcester first time out, responded with a comfortable win over Newcastle.


From Belfast Telegraph