Dai Young Q&A
What are you looking to see in tomorrow night’s game against Leeds?
Tomorrow night’s side is a very strong side with only a few people out recovering from injury, so we want to see everyone who gets game-time to stick their hands up for selection for the London Double Header. That means we need to be a lot better than we were last weekend in Italy in lots of aspects.
What have you worked on this week having reviewed that game?
We’ve done a lot of work this week on high intensity contact work so it’s been a physical week and the boys are off today recovering. At this time of year you’ve got to get those tough contact sessions in the bank and I think last weekend highlighted that now is the right time to do that. There were some aspects we were happy with but we flagged in the second half so we’re looking for much better 80 minutes this week.
Are we expecting more players back fit for that first game against Harlequins?
We’ve got guys like Elliot Daly, Chris Bell, James Bailey and Fabio Staibano who are close to fitness so we are hopeful they will be ready soon though they will be eased back in. There are a few other niggles about but nothing major – though we’ve lost Will Taylor with a bicep injury for a couple of months unfortunately.
A lot has been made about the on-going Club sale process – does that affect the squad?
What I have been trying to say this week, and maybe it hasn’t been coming across, is that no it doesn’t really affect the players day to day and though we’d like it to be done soon; the players and the coaches just get on with what they have to do. The sale is taking longer than expected certainly but there is every confidence at the Club that it will complete soon so we just focus on our job which will be to go out there and win games from the 1st of September. It is there in the background but it’s not going to affect how we train and play.
What are your aims this season?
Our biggest aim is simply improvement. Let’s not forget that we finished 11th last year and we have a long way to go in terms of our development as a squad and a Club – but I believe if we improve in all areas of the park, then our league position can only be better. We have a stronger squad that is for sure so I want to see us push up the table and I believe we are good enough to do that. What I don’t want is to get to the tail-end of the season and be looking over our shoulder like last year- and I genuinely think we now have a squad well capable of helping us avoid that situation.
How are the new signings settling in?
I think we’ve made some real quality signings and so far they’ve settled in well. There’s a mix there of talent and experience and when you’ve got guys like Stephen Jones, Tom Palmer, James Haskell and so on you bring in vital international experience which is only going to help us when it comes to key decision making on the pitch and bringing the young lads on.
There’s lots of talk about the number of Welsh faces in the squad now – why so many?
I’ve said in the past that we want to be a Club who are first and foremost looking at bringing in English players and developing English players but the difficulty of trying to sign guys last year when the Club was in trouble on and off the pitch shouldn’t be underestimated. When we hit a brick wall with those players I turned to guys I knew and who trusted me and I’m very happy with the quality of those players.
London Wasps kick off the season at the London Double Header at Twickenham on September 1st against Harlequins. For tickets call 0844 225 2990 or go to wasps.co.uk
The London Wasps side to play Leeds on Friday, August 17th is: 15. Hugo Southwell (captain) , 14. Tom Varndell, 13. Andrea Masi , 12. Lee Thomas , 11. Christian Wade, 10. Stephen Jones , 9. Joe Simpson , 1. Tim Payne, 2. T Rhys Thomas, 3. Zak Taulafo , 4. Tom Palmer, 5. Marco Wentzel , 6. Joe Launchbury , 7. Jonathan Poff , 8. Ashley Johnson
Replacements 16. Tom Lindsay , 17. Simon McIntyre , 18. Lewis Thiede , 19. Richard Birkett , 20. James Cannon , 21. Nic Berry , 22. Nick Robinson 23. Chris Mayor , 24. James Haskell , 25. Matt Everard , 26. Billy Vunipola , 27. Tommy Bell , 28. Jack Wallace