London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admits it has been a case of back to the drawing board this week as he looks to correct his side’s inadequacies up front ahead of their must-win Aviva Premiership game against Saracens on Saturday.
It’s now three straight losses in the Aviva Premiership for Wasps while last weekend’s last-gasp reversal against Northampton saw their unbeaten run in the league this season at Adams’ Park also end.
Wasps are sixth seven points adrift of fourth-placed Northampton in the Aviva Premiership table and just four ahead of seventh-placed Bath Rugby as they look to earn a Heineken Cup spot for next season.
But, despite having two of the league’s most lethal finishers in Tom Varndell and Christian Wade on the wings, Young insists it’s up front that Wasps need to make improvements and quick.
“We were outmuscled last weekend and you can’t say that Northampton hadn’t done enough to win it,” said Young. “But we showed our ability to play some really high-quality rugby to get back into it and we had our noses in front going into last few minutes.
“We couldn’t quite hold onto the field position we needed to win it, but after a rocky start we did get stuck in with a great crowd behind us. We have had a tough time of it in specific areas up front in the last few games and teams are starting to target us.
“The boys were very disappointed with that in our review this week and we’re working incredibly hard to get that right because we know if we do we have a chance of winning any game with the kind of ability we have in attack when we get good ball.
“Saracens are going very well and are showing as well a real willingness to play wider. But we know as well they will be incredibly physical so the battle will start for us up front.”
Saracens have risen to the top of the Aviva Premiership table courtesy of their current form, which is the best in the tournament, netting them 23 points from their last six games.
Wasps’ only victory in their last five contests with Saracens was 20-15 in the Twickenham double header on the opening weekend of last season.
Saracens have been victorious on their last two visits to Adams Park and director of rugby Mark McCall is looking for more of the same.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to our English guys against Harlequins who had a difficult weekend against Wales,” said McCall. “All of them, to a man, wanted to play.
“It says a lot about the environment and the general group that they are so keen to come back and enjoy it so much – but some of our non-internationals were pretty good as well against Harlequins.
“We know our season didn’t hinge on the game against Quins. But as a team we played really well. Our tackling game caused them some problems and we scored our tries at the right times.”
Referee: Martin Fox (89th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce & Ashley Rowden.