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Bulked up Wasps pack show early form
FOR evidence of Wasps’ growing strength in depth, the back row is as good a place to start as any.
The black and golds are well stocked with centres too, but it’s in the back row where Dai Young has assembled a small platoon of talent.
Against London Irish on Saturday Sam Jones, Guy Thompson and Ed Jackson were the starters.
Matt Everard and Rory Pitman were on the bench while Ashley Johnson, James Haskell and Nathan Hughes can also be added to the mix.
That is eight back rows – nine if you include the versatile Joe Launchbury.
For Jones, now entering his fourth season and with 53 club appearances to his name already, life doesn’t get any easier.
He captained the side against Irish and Connacht the previous weekend, but he knows the challenges to come.
He said: “Firstly I just want to nail a starting jersey.
“We’ve brought in a lot of talent and our numbers have increased.
“There is a lot more competition for places and the way the people are playing in pre-season, it’s going to be a tough decision for Dai [Young] to make come Twickenham.
“But I want to play as much if not more than last year.
“In the last two years I’ve had to wait at least two months before I started playing regularly, so when you get your chance you’ve just go to take it.
“Hopefully I can do that.”
Also hopeful is Guy Thompson, who joined Wasps this summer after an outstanding spell with Jersey.
He said: “There is a lot I’m working on behind closed doors, but I’m just getting used to playing with Wasps.
“We’ve got a fantastic pack, especially in the back row area where I’m playing. We’ve got some great players to come back, people like Ashley Johnson and James Haskell, plus the boys that are already there playing well.
“Ed Jackson has been superb in the last couple of weeks and Sam Jones is consistently really good.
“But we’re a squad at the end of the day and we’ll keep pushing each other.”
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