Wasps director of rugby Dai Young’s insists he will not shift his focus from what he believes is best for the side, despite recruiting a star-studded line-up.
On their first full season at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps matched their property upgrade with their performances on the pitch and reached both Aviva Premiership Rugby and European Champions Cup semi-finals.
And the Coventry outfit’s summer recruitment will have done nothing to dampen fans’ enthusiasm for what lies ahead, with maverick fly-half Danny Cipriani brought back to the club before he was joined by international stars Kyle Eastmond, Kurtley Beale and Willie Le Roux.
However in his fifth season at the Wasps helm, Young is targeting improvement once again but not looking beyond a finish in the top half of the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings for now.
“I always get accused of playing down expectations, but I’m just being honest,” he said.
“Getting into the top six was our goal last season – we’ve only been there once in the last eight or nine years so it wasn’t a foregone conclusion – but to finish in the play-off places certainly exceeded expectations.
“It was a pity we couldn’t go any further than we did, but looking back you had to be pleased with what we achieved and the pressure is on to replicate that again.
“It’s an adjustment for us to make, but while every season I’ve been at the club we’ve improved, I just want to make sure we are a consistent top-six team over the next few seasons.
“You look at the Saracens, Leicester Tigers, and Northampton Saints of this world and they have been there for nine or ten years – we haven’t.
“So to me that’s got to be the first thing for us. We have to playing at the top table of European Rugby season after season – but that is not to say we’re not going to be trying to put pressure on the top four and on other teams to get silverware this year.
“But if we can get into the top four in the Aviva Premiership there’s no reason why we can’t go one or two steps further at the end of the season.”
It has been all change at Wasps this summer not only in terms of personnel, but off the pitch as well.
The squad has settled into a new temporary training facility at Broadstreet RFC, with everyone moving up to the West Midlands to be nearer to their Ricoh Arena home, and Young is hoping the new-found community feel around the club can make a difference.
He added: “Pre-season has obviously been a busy one for us, as after a long transition we are now all located in the Coventry area.
“Everyone has had to find homes and places for children at schools and so on, so it’s been busy off the field but we’ve had fantastic help from the people in the area and a phenomenal welcome.
“So we’re really eager to get some games going at the Ricoh. We didn’t know how we would be received by the local fans, but now we have shown we want to be immersed in the area and really add to it, so we’re hoping that translates into some extra support too.”
Aviva Premiership Rugby returns this weekend. For a full fixture list please click here