DAI Young admits his players have exceeded his expectations in the Amlin Challenge Cup this season.
The black and golds can look forward to a home quarter-final in April after extending their 100 per cent record in the pools with a superb 26-13 victory over Bayonne last weekend.
The Frenchmen needed to win to continue their own interest in the competition, but despite fielding a side crammed with big names, they were unable to derail Wasps. It was the black and gold’s second away win in France in the competition after their emphatic triumph in Grenoble earlier in the campaign.
Young said: “When the groups came out at the start of the year I thought this would be an extremely tough group to get out of. Having one French team in our group is tough enough, but having two I thought it would be a mountain to climb.
“But to come through unscathed and with a 100 per cent record, I’m thrilled with that. That we can go away and get those results is a real measure of how far we’ve come as a squad.”
Andy Goode slotted three first half penalties to two from Bayonne to give his side the edge, before Charlie Davies went over to make it 14-6 at the interval.
Goode might have stretched the lead with two further penalties after the break, but both were pulled wide and those misses looked costly as the hosts cut the gap to 14-13 with a converted score.
Goode was then again off target, before Joe Launchbury went over to ease the nerves. Tom Varndell’s score in the final ten minutes, after excellent work from Joe Simpson, completed a fine night’s work.
Young said: “They’re a team full of names. They’re a very big, physical team, but we came away with the right result. We won the game twice. We put ourselves in a commanding position but then had a poor ten minutes and let them get back into it.
“But we quickly regained the momentum. That’s another thing we couldn’t do last season.”
Wasps will hope to make it seven wins from eight when they play their final pool game against Viadana at Adams Park on Sunday afternoon – a team they put 90 points on in Italy in October.
Young said: “You can see that there is a bit of confidence and belief in the side on the back of a few wins. Winning is a habit and we want to keep this winning run going. We are nowhere near the finished article; we are still making errors that we need to cut out.
“Saying that, I think we have won more than we have lost recently and there are a lot of encouraging things.”