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Wasps quietly confident ahead of Sarries test
THERE is a familiar refrain among coaches of all sports in the build-up to games – it’s not about them, it’s about what we do.
That is only partly true when the opponents are Saracens and the venue is Allianz Park, a stadium as generous to visitors as Fort Knox.
Saracens have played three times there this season and average 49 points, they’ve won all the games and were confident enough to offer full refunds for their last match if Gavin Henson scored a point.
He didn’t. Saracens demolished Bath in the first half and then cruised to the line.
For the rest of the league, to see a team as good as Saracens raise it an extra level is actually a little bit scary.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: “It’s a great opportunity. Yes, we’re very respectful, they’re a great team and deserve to be where they are.
“They could probably pick two or three teams that could go out there and be hugely competitive against any team, they’ve got that strength in depth right across the board.
“But this is a great opportunity for us. We haven’t hit our stride yet and there is still a lot more to come from this team.
“What better time to do it that on the weekend?”
Wasps don’t actually have too bad a record against Sarries; certainly there are none of the painful pastings they’ve received from Northampton scarring their thought-processes and spotting Billy Vunipola waiting for them on the other side of the half way line might just gee up the black and golds further.
They could do with it, because anything less than total commitment will be exposed.
Young said: “We’re happy that we’re going in the right direction, but we’re realistic enough to know this is a different kettle of fish. We’re going up against a really physical pack, we saw what they did to Harlequins and this will give us a real measure of where we are.
“We’ve got to maintain our standards up front against a much stiffer challenge.
“We’re certainly going to be tested come scrum and line-out time, where we’ve done quite well in the last couple of weeks.
“Our defence is going to be tested because they’ve got some huge ball carriers.
“The collision zones are going to be huge and we have to try and get some dominance there.
“And we have to keep working on our attack. Opportunities are going to be limited against the real top teams and when you get them you have to take them.
“So we’ve got to be far more accurate and far more fluid.”
Other than that, no problem.
Well, one problem. If Wasps can somehow handcuff the heavies, Saracens have a souped-up backs division this season too.
Wasps on the other hand, have faltered in that department after a spate of crucial injuries.
Young said: “We’re expecting a huge challenge, but I think we’re getting there. We’re getting better with every game and have just got to keep on working on it.”
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