Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Wasps boss Dai Young braced for Bath reaction

Dai Young is braced for a reaction from Bath when Aviva Premiership leaders Wasps head to the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

While Wasps continued their Premiership title push by seeing off Gloucester last weekend, Bath were beaten by a Gavin Henson-inspired Bristol as their west country rivals boosted a season-long fight against relegation ahead of Sunday's trip to fellow strugglers Worcester.

"I am sure we will face a bit of a reaction from Bath after their loss to Bristol, which you would imagine would have been a game they expected to win," Wasps rugby director Young said.

"Any team can beat any other in this league, as both Bath and us have already learnt this season, and we are expecting them to be at their best when we go down to the Rec.

"It's an important game for both sides, given the positions in the table.

"They will be determined to come away with the points, and we also know that if we can get a result, we would be sitting in a strong position with only five games left to play.

"Bath are a real quality team, with some great players, and we know we will have to be at our best."

Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder has praised his players for their response this week as they look to remain in the play-off picture.

"There has been a real intensity and focus in training, which I have no doubt they will bring to the game on Saturday," Blackadder said.

"Wasps have been in really good form this season, but we've shown that we can mix it with the best in the competition, and I know we have what it takes to match them across the park."

Gloucester's hopes of claiming a top-six Premiership finish were dealt a blow by the Wasps result, giving Saturday's Kingsholm clash against Harlequins added importance.

Ninth-placed Gloucester are three points behind Quins, in seventh, and Gloucester head coach Laurie Fisher said: "If both sides have aspirations of a top-six finish, as we both do, then it's a massively-important game.

"We are certainly looking at it in that light. It's an absolute must-win for us. So we have to get out there, empty the tank and give it everything.

"We know that we've got to be on the edge, there is no doubt about that. Sometimes, it's easier at home when you know that you have 14,000 or 15,000 people on your side. If you give them something to cheer about, there is a wave you can really ride home.

"But we've got to generate that, through our performance, through our passion, through our enthusiasm, through our skills, through our execution.

"If we provide that part of the deal, then we will have a lot of people there who will help us through the 80 minutes."

Sunday's Premiership action is highlighted by the basement battle between Worcester and Bristol at Sixways.

Bristol, fresh from beating Bath, are two points behind the Warriors with six games left, but they have posted a solitary Premiership away win all season and remain relegation favourites.

And Saracens, bolstered by England number eight Billy Vunipola's return from a long injury lay-off, will aim to make it 17 successive victories against Newcastle when they tackle the Falcons at Kingston Park.


From Belfast Telegraph