Young: Toulouse match a Cup Final

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:34
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: It may be five months before the trophies are handed out at the end of the season, but Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has described his side's Round Five Champions Cup clash with Toulouse as "a Cup Final".

Wasps, semifinalists in both the Champions Cup and Premiership last season, ended 2016 on a high with a win at Newcastle that enabled them to leapfrog the reigning English and European champions Saracens and go top of the table.

But with Leicester Tigers and Toulouse to come at home in their next two fixtures, Young is not allowing his players to get ahead of themselves. The game against Tigers is now a massive Midlands derby match, while the outcome of the game against Toulouse could determine who wins Pool Two in the Champions Cup.

Three times are currently tied on 13 points - Wasps, Toulouse and Pro12 champions Connacht - going into the final two rounds. Wasps end with a trip to bottom of the table Zebre, while Connacht have to travel to Toulouse after hosting Zebre in Round Five.

Toulouse showed their improved form last weekend when they beat TOP 14 leaders ASM Clermont Auvergne at home and they will arrive at the Ricoh Arena hoping to make up for the last minute slip that allowed Wasps to steal a draw at Stade Ernest Wallon in Round Two thanks to a 78th minute try from Nathan Hughes that Jimmy Gopperth converted to make it 20-20.

"The game against Toulouse is a cup final for both teams. If we win that game we have to back ourselves to win in Zebre because, without being disrespectful, if we don't win there we don't deserve to be in the quarter-finals," Young told epcrugby.com.

"We're a little bit in front of where we hoped to be at this point in what we call phase two of the season. We wanted to have enough points to be sitting in the top four and to have qualified for the European quarterfinals when we finish the European pool games in Zebre.

"But if we don't get the next few weeks right, that could all go horribly wrong. The next three or four games could put us in front of where we hoped to be, but by the same measure if we lose the next couple of games, and things don't go right against Toulouse, we'd be behind."

Young is about to get a timely injury boost with the return of props Simon McIntyre and Jake Cooper-Woolley, while England back row stalwart James Haskell is almost ready to return. He was named in the England squad for the upcoming Six Nations campaign as he finally puts a toe injury behind him.

The 31-year-old Haskell helped England complete the Grand Slam in the 2016 Six Nations and was a European Cup winner with Wasps way back in 2007, when they won the title for the second time with a 25-9 victory over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.

He also featured in the 2011 Challenge Cup final with Stade Francais Paris when they were pipped in Cardiff by Harlequins.

Source: epcrugby.com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10