Young: 'I'd have preferred it the other way around'

First published in Sport
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WASPS will have to out-score Stade Francais over two legs this month to earn the 20th and final place in next season’s inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup.

Dai Young’s team secured their play-off spot by wrapping up seventh place in the Aviva Premiership last weekend when they beat Newcastle and Exeter went down to Harlequins, while Stade secured seventh in the Top 14 with a bonus point loss in Toulon.

However, they haven’t got it easy after an historic draw on Tuesday lumped them with a home tie first up on Sunday, May 17.

They will then go to Paris on Saturday, May 24.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: “It’s difficult to say if playing at home is ever a disadvantage, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have preferred it the other way around.

“We’d rather be coming back to Adams Park knowing what we’ve got to do. But it is what it is and I won’t be losing any sleep over it.

“We’ll still be looking for two big performances. We’ve got to go out with the mindset of winning both games.

“We’re not going to play Barbarians rugby, but we can’t just play to stop them scoring. We have to play to win and the pleasing thing is we’re scoring points and tries again.

“We’re letting in too many points as well though and we know if we relax against them we will catch a cold.”

Wasps have already played French team four times this season and they have won every game so far, beating Bayonne and Grenoble home and away in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Stade finished above both in the Top 14 though and are a different kettle of fish entirely with an array of stars including Morne Steyn, Sergio Parisse, Jules Plisson and Felipe Contepomi.

Young said: “Looking at their personnel and the world-recognised names, they will be by far the best team from France we’ll have played this year.

“But nobody has got a right to be [in the Champions Cup] and you don’t get there by luck, it takes a lot of work and planning on and off the field.

“In the last few years we haven’t been in a position to get there while they have been there or thereabouts for a while.

“But you’ve got two big clubs with big history and tradition and we’ll both be desperate to get back in the top flight of European competition again.

“For us it would be fantastic for everyone at the club and another sign that we’re heading in the right direction.”

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