WASPS’ scrum has ‘improved out of sight’, but whether it’s good enough to blunt arguably the best front row in Europe will be revealed at Adams Park on Sunday.

Northampton Saints have all their big hitters back from the World Cup and come to Wycombe in a big rush to make up lost ground after their faltering start to the season.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: “They’re a quality squad. Over the World Cup you want to play the teams that have been hurt the most by call ups, but they and Leicester were never going to be struggling once they got their players back.”

Exeter, Saracens, Ospreys and Newcastle have all been swatted away in recent weeks and Ashton, Hartley, Foden and co will be fairly confident of adding Wasps to the list when they come to Wycombe.

Young said: “We’ve had two Premiership wins back to back and we’d love to make it a third, but we know how tough this challenge will be for us.

“We came second best quite heavily against them twice last season.”

And Young – and just about everybody else in rugby – knows exactly where the main threat will come from.

He said: “They have one of if not the most formidable front rows in Europe. They proved that right through Europe last season.”

It’s not a good time to be without Steve Thompson then, although Wasps had been showing signs of life in that department even before the World Cup winning hooker arrived.

Young said: “Our scrum has improved. We’ve worked hard at it and they’ve wanted to do the work, that’s the key.

“They’ve been determined to get it to a standard and if you look at our last three games I don’t think anyone would argue we’ve been on top in the scrum in those games.

“It’s a change from the start of the season, when we were under massive pressure.

“It’s not where we want it to be yet though, and whether we’ve improved enough to take on the challenge on Sunday, only time will tell.

“We have a lot of respect for how strong the Northampton scrum is and are under no illusions that we are stepping up a lot of levels here.

“It’s an area where we’re going to be put under a lot of pressure and we have to stand up to it.

“The boys are expecting it. It’s a big challenge for us, but one we’re going to have to meet head on.”

If it was just about nullifying Saints at scrum time, Wasps might think they’ve got a better than even chance on their own soil. It’s not though.

Young said: “The scrum is a real points machine for them, but they have other parts in their armoury.

“If you kick loosely to their back three they’ll kill you, they’ve got a lot of penetration quite close to the ruck and they’re confident in their physicality.

“You have to control the pitch. You can’t give them platforms deep inside your half.

“If they get scrums inside your half they’ll cause you problems, if they get line-outs inside your half they’ll hurt you. That’s their game.

“But it’s about taking our game to them as well. It’s not just about restricting them.

“It’s important we play the game we want to and don’t let them dictate the tempo and the field.”