Improved Leinster makes Young nervous

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:02
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young is wary of the threat posed by Leinster as the two teams prepare to meet in their European Rugby Champions Cup quarterfinal.

Young's men travel to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for a mouth-watering last-eight tie against a team they thrashed twice in last season's pool stages. It is also a battle between the top teams in the Pro12 and the Premiership.

The English side put a total of 84 points on their Irish opposition across their two games, emerging 51-10 winners on home soil as they made it to the 2015-16 tournament's semifinals. A much closer contest is expected this weekend, with both teams leading their respective domestic competitions.

"We were in the semifinals last season and we know we've got a huge challenge going to Dublin to play against a formidable 23," Young told epcrugby.com. "Leinster aren't just a team of 15, their bench is going to be massive for them." 

"They'll certainly be up for it, and we'll have to rise to the occasion and will need to put in a performance. We'll have to be at our best to go there get a result.

"If we can do that then we'll be into a semifinal and we're not too far away then. It is going to be a massive game."

Wasps have played some of the most enterprising rugby in Europe this season, but are on the road as the Champions Cup reaches its business end. They scored 28 tries to top their pool, while Leinster were the leading try scorers with 31.

"These are the games you want to be involved in. Leinster have come on leaps and bounds after what was, by their own admission, a bit of a transition time last season," added Young.

"But they were nowhere near as bad as people were making out. It was just that they weren't quite as successful as they usually are - most teams would settle for a slip for just one season.

"They've got real quality and their youngsters coming through have really stood up. Defensively they've got a lot more bite in them, set-piece wise they're strong, and they've got some clever, sharp options behind the scrum. We're going to be tested and we're expecting a different team to the one we faced last year."

Leinster will be without Irish internationals Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney for the last-eight clash due to injury. But Leo Cullen will also be able to bring back a host of men who were rested last weekend following their Six Nations exertions.

It has left Young, who has lost two European Cup semifinals in his coaching career - with Cardiff Blues in 2009 and Wasps last year - wary of what's to come. 

"I'm impressed by the whole Leinster team. Their defence is a lot meaner, a lot tougher than in the past and their line speed is much better and they're aggressive in that area," said Young. "Emotion is only going to get you so far. It's up to us to make sure we want it just as much as they do." 

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 3 3 0 0 15
Ulster 3 1 0 2 8
Wasps 3 1 0 2 6
Harlequins 3 0 0 3 1
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 3 3 0 0 14
Saracens 3 2 0 1 10
Ospreys 3 1 0 2 8
Northampton Saints 3 0 0 3 1
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 3 3 0 0 14
Exeter Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Montpellier 3 1 0 2 8
Glasgow Warriors 3 0 0 3 1
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 3 2 1 0 11
Castres 3 1 1 1 7
Leicester Tigers 3 1 0 2 6
Racing Metro 3 1 0 2 6
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Toulon 3 3 0 0 12
Bath 3 2 0 1 9
Scarlets 3 1 0 2 7
Treviso 3 0 0 3 3