TOP BAR - Fixtures

Dai Young: Wasps face pressure to perform in Champions Cup

Last season’s European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finalists Wasps are under significantly more pressure to perform in this season’s competition than they were 12 months ago, according to director of rugby Dai Young.

Wasps had an incredible tournament last year, topping a pool which included reigning champions Toulon, Bath Rugby and Leinster, with four wins and two defeats.

The Coventry-based club beat Exeter Chiefs by a single point in their quarter-finals before succumbing to eventual winners Saracens at the semi-final stage.

It was a run that surpassed all pre-season expectations for Wasps and Young admits that the pressure is on to repeat their success again this time around.

“There’s a lot more pressure on us this season compared to last season,” he explained.

“There are no easy games, I think every director of rugby or player will tell you that, but perceptions are that this group is easier for us than last season.

“Nobody gave us a chance last year so there was no pressure on us, but if you want to achieve things this is the type of pressure you’ve got to deal with.

“There’s a lot of feel-good factor in the squad at the minute but it’s how you perform on the day and we’re in a tough group.”

Wasps have started the Premiership season in electric form with five wins from their opening five games and three try bonus points.

When they begin their European voyage they’ll be looking for similarly strong performances against their group opponents of Pro12 champions Connacht, Toulouse and Italian side Zebre.

And Young admits after working so hard last year to qualify for the tournament with a third-placed finish in the Premiership, he knows the squad are determined to enjoy themselves.

“Any sporting organisation wants to be in the best competition, at the top table of European sport, and that’s the Champions Cup,” he added.

“For us it’s a real slog every year, 22 games and a ten month competition, to quality for the Champions Cup and once you’ve done that you want to enjoy it.

“The only way to do that is to really compete and do yourself proud in that competition.

“From our point of view it’s something the players and fans really look forward to, it gives you a yard stick of where you are in the game.

“It’s different from every game week in week out playing English rivals; to be playing teams from elsewhere it all adds up to a really memorable competition and one that everyone wants to be a part of.”

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the organiser of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition. Follow all the excitement of another thrilling season of European action at

Latest News

Toby Flood starts for Newcastle Falcons against Rotherham Titans

Toby Flood makes the first start of his second spell at Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they host Rotherham Titans…

Joe Marler commits to Harlequins until 2021

Harlequins is thrilled to announce today, Friday 18th August, that England and British and Irish Lions prop, Joe Marler, has…

Joe Marler

European fixtures to be released on Tuesday

The fixtures for the 2017/18 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season will be announced on Tuesday, 22 August at 3.00pm…

Rokoduguni starts for Bath Rugby against Ospreys

Semesa Rokoduguni will make his first appearance of pre-season when Bath Rugby take on Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on…

Harlequins team to play Jersey Reds

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Jersey Reds in the final match of the 2017/18 pre-season campaign, at The…

Francis Saili

Stringer starts for Worcester Warriors at Birmingham Moseley

Summer signing Peter Stringer will get his first start for Warriors on Friday night as his side take on Birmingham…

London Irish name side for Ealing Trailfinders clash

London Irish have named a 30-man squad for this Friday’s pre-season clash with Ealing Trailfinders at Hazelwood (kick-off 7.30pm). The…

Gloucester Rugby announce line-ups for preseason friendly at Leinster

Gloucester Rugby will give game time to a number of their first team squad in Leinster on Friday evening as…

American rugby players and coaches to get once in a lifetime opportunity

Thirty American rugby players and coaches are being handed the chance of a lifetime to train in England with Premiership…

Stephen Myler: Northampton Saints ready to fight for the title

Stephen Myler is predicting the closest ever Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign and believes his Northampton Saints side will be right…

Sonatane Takulua expecting big things from Newcastle Falcons this season

Sonatane Takulua believes unity and a collective purpose, combined with an improved playing pool, can help propel Newcastle Falcons up…

Sonatane Takulua

Wasps name team for first pre-season fixture against Ulster

Dai Young has named a 26-man squad to take on Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in the first pre-season fixture…

Anglo-Welsh Cup 2017-18 launched

WORCESTER WARRIORS have the honour of hosting the opening match in this year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday 3 November, when…

Leicester Tigers win the Anglo Welsh Cup

Ally Hogg pleased by Newcastle Falcons’ early progress

Ally Hogg believes Newcastle Falcons are well set to attack the new Aviva Premiership season after a double dose of…

Ally Hogg

Topsy Ojo relishing Exiles return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action at HQ

Topsy Ojo believes there could be no more fitting way for London Irish to announce their return as an Aviva…

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua sees Philadelphia trip as a ‘great opportunity’

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua insists his side’s September clash with Saracens in Philadelphia will be no holiday for the players,…

Sonatane Takulua

Harlequins statement: Luke Wallace and Jonas Mikalcius

Harlequins can confirm today (Tuesday 15th August) that flanker Luke Wallace dislocated his hip during the pre-season friendly against London…

Luke Wallace

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

London Irish will host Bath Rugby at the Madejski Stadium in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday…

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

HITZ graduate secures first full time job after being inspired by Premiership Rugby final

A teenager from Leigh who overcame a troubled home life and tackled confidence and communication issues thanks to Premiership Rugby…

Lucy Neal