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Young: Only bonus point win will do

Wasps boss David Young believes a bonus point victory is non-negotiable when the Londoners launch their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign on Saturday.

Young's team face Italian minnows Viadana at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella knowing they need to make an immediate statement in Pool Four, given that it also includes the twin French challenge of Bayonne and Grenoble.

Only the group winners will secure a quarter-final place, and Young said: "I think this is probably the toughest draw we've had in the last few years.

"Going to France twice won't be easy because those sides have good home records.

"I think we will need a bit of luck in the middle part of this competition to get most of our injured players back because those games in December and January are going to be really tough.

"I am confident if we can get some of our strike-players back into the team we can go out to France in a positive place. They are not the places to go with half a squad, really.

"We need a bonus point win this weekend, it is as simple as that.

"Without being disrespectful to Viadana, who we know won't make it easy for us, if you have any ambitions of progressing in this competition you have got to go to Italy and get that good result in the bag."

Worcester, seven points adrift at the Aviva Premiership basement after losing their first five games, can expect little respite away against impressive French Top 14 newcomers Oyonnax on Saturday.

"It will be a huge test for us in Oyonnax. I understand it is quite an intimidating environment, so it's a classic case of needing to see our youngsters grow and some of our senior guys front-up," Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan said.

"Any side that beats Toulon and Clermont Auvergne is recognisable as a huge challenge.

"Whether they play the same team or not, these guys clearly have a proud home record and whether you are first-choice, second-choice or an academy kid at Oyonnax, I would imagine your responsibility is to uphold that home record."

South African wing Dean Hammond makes his first Worcester start, along with full-back Cam Goodhue and fly-half Paul Warwick, and Ryan added: "We've talked about trying to find our base game over the next two weeks - knowing what it is and being confident in it.

"Ambitions in the Amlin Challenge Cup are to be competitive, but at the same time to see the youngsters progress. If we achieve that then I will be really pleased."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Newcastle travel to Bucharest in Pool Three, while Pool Two favourites Bath are boosted by returning South African forward Francois Louw away against Bordeaux-Begles.

Louw, who has been on Rugby Championship duty with the Springboks, leads a team that includes Gavin Henson at full-back, Henson's fellow Wales international Martin Roberts wearing the number nine shirt and Tom Biggs, who will join Super League club Hull FC next season, featuring on the wing.


From Belfast Telegraph