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Young confident of Wasps' chances

Wasps boss David Young has no doubt that his team is good enough to top a tough qualifying pool in this season's Amlin Challenge Cup.

The Londoners racked up 90 points and scored 14 tries in disposing of Italian minnows Viadana last weekend, but the serious business begins on Thursday night against Adams Park visitors Bayonne.

Bayonne's fellow French Top 14 club Grenoble are also in Wasps' pool, with only the group winners securing a quarter-final place.

"It is a tough pool with two good French sides in it, but we've got to the quarter-finals in recent years and we want to go further," Young said on his club's website.

"We take every game seriously and we always go out to win. We don't have a squad big enough to say 'let's stick out our second team' in any competition, and in any case our focus right now is on topping this pool, which I believe we are capable of."

Young has made a number of changes from the side that accounted for Viadana, including a place on the bench for England international back-row forward James Haskell.

Haskell, who underwent knee surgery during the summer, has yet to make a first team appearance this season.

Young's switches include the front-row of Matt Mullan, Carlo Festuccia and Jake Cooper-Woolley, while fly-half Andy Goode, wing Josh Bassett and centre Charlie Hayter are also called up.

"We are pleased with how it went in Italy, though obviously we aren't getting too carried away as there are much tougher challenges ahead," Young added.

"Perhaps the number of tries we scored will help us if it's tight in the group, but Thursday's game with Bayonne is hugely important in how we fare because we have got to win the home games if we want to get out of the pool.

"Okay, they (Bayonne) aren't going great in their league, but you just look at some of the players in their squad - the likes of Mark Chisholm, Mike Phillips and others - and you would be a fool if you underestimated them.

"If they click, they could cause you real problems, and with a big heavy pack our defence is going to have to be on top form."


From Belfast Telegraph