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Wasps walking an injury tightrope
WASPS director of rugby Dai Young says Saturday’s 33-30 home defeat to Sale Sharks must serve as a warning for the rest of the season.
The defeat cost Wasps their proud home record this season after eight successive wins in Wycombe, but while the loss came in the largely discarded LV=Cup Young insists that had nothing to do with it.
Instead, he believes the fixture exposed Wasps’ paper-thin squad and proves just what a tightrope they’re on.
He said: “It was a clear indication of where we are as squad. Forget the idea of people being rested. There was nobody rested.
“We had 23 players to pick from. We had seven on international duty, a couple injured...so that was pretty much the bare bones.
“It was a little bit of a warning for the rest of the season; if we pick up some injuries we’re going to struggle.”
England duo James Haskell and Joe Launchbury will be away for a while yet and Nic Berry, James Bailey and Lee Thomas have gone from the backs division, but Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Billy Vunipola, Joe Simpson and Phil Swainston are all coming back from the Saxons this week.
Scrum half Stuart Commins and centre Charlie Hayter have also come in recently and Hayter in particular looks like he might have a part to play.
The centre was sprightly in defeat at Leicester and marked his first home game with a try against Sale.
Young said: “There is no point bringing someone in if they can’t figure in our plans.
“I thought with the ball in hand he took us forward and took his chance very well. It’s a little bit of a step up from what he’s accustomed to this season and it will take him a bit of time to get accustomed to that but he’s certainly got the right attitude.
“But when you’ve got Chris Bell playing as well as he has for us this season, and Elliot Daly [and Andrea Masi], Charlie is going to have go some way to dislodge them.”
Wasps aren’t so well covered in other positions though, and what is so far a hugely encouraging season could yet fizzle out if they suffer injuries in the back three or second row.