Bath will feel like they owe us one

As Wasps prepare for this weekend’s clash with Bath Rugby, we spoke to Thomas Young about the prospect of facing the Premiership finalists at The Rec this Saturday.

Wasps prepare to face Bath for the fourth time this season as they focus on Saturday’s trip to the West Country. Going into the game, Wasps have lost one and won two of the three games to date, the last of those the 36-10 European Champions Cup victory at The Rec. Ahead of the game Thomas Young says that both sides will have that result fresh in their minds and that presents both positives and negatives for the men in black and gold. 

“This weekend is a really big game for us, we all know that. We’re on a good run at the moment and momentum is everything, especially at this stage of the season. If we can keep that momentum going and cement ourselves in the top six it will be great for us.

“Our result at The Rec in Europe will give us confidence ahead of this weekend, as will last weekend’s win over Saracens. On the flip side of that, Bath will feel like they owe us one and they will have watched our win over Saracens and prepare for us to be at that level. 

“Bath always have a strong forward pack, so physically we know we’re going to have to be right up there. Whoever plays at scrum half for them, they like to be sharp around the fringes and they have strong ball carriers in that backline. 

“We’ve played them three times already this season so we know what their threats are, just as they will know ours. We need to focus on our own game. Against Northampton and Saracens we executed our game plan and got the results we were after. This week we will need to work hard again to get our threats going and try to keep this good run going.”

Last weekend, Wasps managed to get their first win at Allianz Park as they came flying out of the blocks to grab a try bonus point in under half an hour, going on to record an eight-try win over reigning Premiership champions Saracens. Young says the fast start was something they had talked about in the week.

“We started well and that was what we had talked about all week, starting big and attacking from minute one. The boys did really well in terms of their execution and they kept at it for the full 80 minutes. Some of the tries we scored were brilliant and we need to keep our levels there moving forwards.

“We knew we could use the surface to our advantage and it would suit the game we wanted to play. With the threats we have out wide we knew we could cause problems and we wanted to play a high tempo game. In that opening period everything we tried came off and we kept at it.

Young and George Smith started against Saracens, two natural sevens either side of Nathan Hughes in the back row. Young says his role changed very little and having two opensides on the pitch allowed them to play a high-paced game.

“The only thing that really changed in my role was the lineout, as what a six does in our lineout is slightly different to a seven. The way we wanted to play it suited us having both me and George on the pitch. We both played the same game we’re used to and it worked well for us.”

Young finds himself in a highly competitive back row group at the club, with the likes of George Smith, James Haskell, Nathan Hughes, Sam Jones, Guy Thompson and Alex Rieder his competition as they battle it out for three starting spots, but he says the group are tight-knit and help each other improve.

“We’re a tight group of players here and as a back-row we’re always pushing each other on and learning from each other. With the calibre of players we have here it means some of us have had to be patient and it means when you get your opportunity you have to take it. I think you’ve seen that a number of times this year, when guys have had a chance they’ve stepped up and given the coaches real selection headaches. Everyone wants to be involved, everyone wants to play, but with the calibre of players we have, you have to wait your turn on occasion. The coaches are very open with us and players aren’t selected on reputation, so you know if you perform you will be rewarded.

“There’s not many people with as many international caps as George [Smith] has and that’s good not only for me but for the whole squad to learn from. For me it has been brilliant as an out and out seven to learn from him. Not only does he have that knowledge and experience, but he’s brilliant at sharing it. He’ll sit down with me after games to talk it through and I’m just continuously watching him and trying to learn as much as I can.”