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Young backs youngsters to shine


Christian Wade

Christian Wade

Christian Wade

Dai Young has backed Wasps' exciting crop of young players to relish taking on French heavyweights Biarritz.

The 2006 Heineken Cup runners-up arrive at Adams Park for an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final that will see both clubs looking to briefly forget about dismal domestic form.

"We've had to blood a lot of young players this year, and there are youngsters at Wasps already with some great experience under their belt as a result," rugby director Young said.

Wasps and Biarritz have little chance of securing top-flight European qualification next term unless they win this season's Amlin tournament.

And the emphasis will again be on youth as Wasps gain a welcome break from league action before resuming Aviva Premiership business against leaders Harlequins next week.

Young added: "I have no doubt they will be relishing the chance to have a crack at Biarritz.

"Young players have no respect for big names, and our young players showed that last week. They went out and mixed it with some really experienced Gloucester players and did a great job, and I know they will relish the opportunity to do it again."

Former Scotland full-back Hugo Southwell captains a Wasps side bolstered by prolific try-scorer Christian Wade's return from injury, with six players - Wade, Elliot Daly, Charlie Davies, Joe Launchbury, Matt Everard and Sam Jones - aged 21 or under.

Whoever wins the clash will have home advantage in the semi-finals later this month against Brive or the Scarlets, who meet in France on Sunday.

Scarlets head of rugby Nigel Davies said: "We've had a reasonably successful season to this point, but we have to cap it off by achieving something notable."