Belfast Telegraph

Wasps are seeking their sting again after implosion at Quins

 

By Michael Sadlier

Last weekend will have left its mark on a doubtless still dazed Wasps squad and, even though the chances of them now progressing from Pool One are now rather remote looking, a response is now required..

It didn't seem conceivable that they could lose after being 21-0 ahead against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop, but it happened with their two bonus points offering little consolation to either head coach Dai Young or, indeed, James Haskell who was red-carded and banned for that smash on Jamie Roberts.

You might have thought that would have been the end of it and that losing to their bitter rivals, from the days the sides both hailed from London, to effectively end the realistic hopes of Wasps making progress in Europe would have simply focused the now Coventry-based club on matters in the Aviva Premiership.

But, no, Wasps - currently third in the Premiership but just a point ahead of Gloucester - need to strike back and put their house in order before their next Premiership game in early February when they go, you guessed it, back to Quins.

They want to clear away the wreckage of the Quins game by producing something for their supporters, doubtless themselves still in shock after last weekend, and to crucially do that the Ricoh.

And with it just so happening that Wasps have yet to lose at home to an Irish province after eight games played over the years in Europe, they have yet another incentive to turn up and produce a display of substance.

As such, Young has made minimum alteration to his team with just four changes from the starting side which imploded at Quins.

Jack Willis comes in at blindside flanker for the suspended Haskell while Guy Thompson starts at openside.

Tom Cruse is brought in at hooker while, in the backline, Juan De Jongh returns at centre.

And with Nizaam Carr playing his final game on loan before returning to the Stormers, the home side will definitely want to send the pile-driving back-rower on his way in appropriate fashion.

And if Danny Cipriani gets in the groove and can release danger men Willie Le Roux and Christian Wade then Wasps can reverse last weekend's horror show and maybe have a tilt at sneaking in the back door regarding qualification.

Belfast Telegraph

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