Match Reaction: Dai Young Post Newcastle Falcons

Following Wasps’ heart-stopping final few minutes of play at the Ricoh Arena, Director of Rugby Dai Young was understandably relieved to hear the final whistle and pleased to bank the four points.

“I thought that finish might have Goodey written all over it to be honest,” Young joked, “either with a drop goal or a penalty to win it at the death, so we’re just pleased to come away with the win. We didn’t play as well as last week but the conditions were always going to make it tough for both teams.

“It was difficult out there. The wind was swirling and it was greasy so both teams had to kick more than they would’ve liked, the lineouts were a bit scrappy and playing at high tempo was difficult as the passes had to be shorter. 

“We want to play rugby,” continued Young. “We want to get some tempo into the game and those conditions were never going to let us do that. It was disappointing in terms of the performance, but we’re glad to get over the line.

“We did produce opportunities but then squandered them. They missed a couple of kicks and we had two tries disallowed, which was the correct decision, and when we did get our noses in front, we seemed to do our best to try to chuck it away in the last couple of minutes!”

Commenting on Wasps’ reassuring bench, Young confirmed the importance of the depth of squads during the international period. “It’s very much a 23-man game and when you can bring firepower off the bench with 20 or 25 minutes to go, it improves the chances of you winning games. If you look at games over the past few seasons that’s been our downfall, in that we’ve been in games for 60 minutes and the strength of other teams’ benches has been too much for us. When you can bring the likes of George [Smith], Ashley [Johnson] and Matt [Mullan] off the bench it can only help.” 

While the performance itself might not have been one for the highlights reel, the significance of the four points was not lost on Young:

“Last week, winning at Franklin’s Gardens was a brilliant performance but it would have meant very little without winning today. That’s not meant as disrespectful to Newcastle, who are always a really tough team to beat, it’s just a fact that you have to win your home games against teams below you.

“This part of the season is massive. With the international players away for all teams pretty much and so many games played in this period, it’s going to make or break your season, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter how you get these wins, you just have to get yourself over the line and get some wins. Hopefully you put yourself into a good position at the end of this period, where you can give yourself a real crack at something in the last part of the season.”