WASPS made a victorious return to Adams Park on Sunday with a 38-24 pre-season win over London Welsh.
Despite starting with eight debutants and making a raft of replacements during the second half, the black and golds ran in five tries to win the game at a canter and show tantalising glimpses of the brand of rugby their fans can expect this season.
Charlie Davies scored the first try during a bright opening spell and, after Welsh hit back to lead 10-7 and then 17-10, Wasps ran away with it with further scores from Guy Thompson, Nathan Hughes (2) and Kearnan Myall.
And while it’s not possible to draw defnitive conclusions from warm-up matches, a potentially thrilling understanding appears to be developing between Saxons team-mates Elliot Daly and new signing Rob Miller, while Scotland fly half Ruardidh Jackson looked accomplished in the role and a real challenger to Andy Goode for the ten shirt.
Director of rugby Dai Young said: “I was pleased with that performance. Obviously there’s lots to work on, as there is in any pre-season.
“In the first half we put ourselves under pressure because we didn’t hold onto the ball long enough and at times we panicked a little in defence, which resulted in them having the majority of possession and territory.
“We talked about it at half time and we felt if we could hold onto the ball and inject a bit more tempo in the game, then we had enough quality in the side to take it home, and that was pretty much the case.”
Wasps began brightly and were rewarded when Davies dummied to go over from close range.
Welsh responded with a Nick Scott score and penalty try, but the home team began to move through the gears after the intervial as their more established stars were introduced in waves.
The set piece remained hit and miss, particularly the line out, but a powerful break from Hughes and then a weaving run from Alex Lozowski raised the tempo before Thompson showed his eye for an opening to go over next to the upright.
Hughes then twice finished off prolonged attacks before Myall took Tom Howe’s infield pass to take the try count to five.
Young said: “I was impressed with all the new players. We had a very young team in the first half and they played against pretty much London Welsh’s first team, but I thought they stood up really well.
“Some of our more experienced players then came on second half, the guys who we already know can play at this level, and they showed the quality they have.
“I was really pleased all the players showed the quality we believed they had coming into this and it’s pleasing going away knowing we have a good squad.
“We have worked hard over the summer and I’m pleased with the quality and depth we have.
“We’ve got options to rotate if we don’t pick up too many injuries.”
Starting XV: Miller, Holmers, Daly, Bell, Varndell, Lozowski, Davies, Yapp, Shervington, Swainston, Rowlands, Gaskell, Lawrence, Young, Jackson.
Replacements: Lindsay, Lundberg, McIntryre, Cannon, Myall, Simpson, Jackson, Tagicakibau, Howe, Goode, Bliss, Jones, Hughes, Thompson.
Notable absentees: Launchbury, Mullan, Wade, Masi, Davies, Haskell, Johnson, Helu, Mullan and Cooper-Woolley.