Wasps are getting used to the big stage
PREMIERSHIP REACTION: Wasps director of rugby Dai Young is hoping his side are finally getting used to the 'big occasions', after finishing top of the Premiership Rugby pile with a resounding 35-15 victory over Saracens.
In front of over 30 000 people at the Ricoh Arena, the star-studded Coventry outfit were on top throughout and booked themselves a home semifinal berth against Leicester Tigers with a bonus-point triumph.
Young’s son Thomas was the star of the show, with the flank crossing for a sublime hat-trick, but Christian Wade also made the headlines by scoring and equalling Dominic Chapman’s 1998 record for number of tries in a 22-game Premiership Rugby season.
Elliot Daly also went around the outside of Jamie George to put gloss on the win – meaning Ben Spencer’s double was in vain for Sarries – while even more pleasingly for Wasps boss Young, Willie Le Roux and Kurtley Beale were back to their effervescent best and were a menace throughout.
"Although I’m absolutely delighted to finish top of the league, I always felt it was in doubt," he said.
"You can see we’re not used to the big occasions, but the more of them you play in, the more comfortable you get.
"Your big players have to stand up and have big games otherwise you’re probably going to come up a little short.
"I had to pump Willie Le Roux’s tyres up in the week and Kurtley Beale’s as well. We’re all human; one or two bad games doesn’t make them a bad player overnight.
"Kurtley was outstanding today and Willie looked a different level. Danny Cipriani also did really well and Jimmy Gopperth rarely has a poor game.
"The forward effort was excellent, there was nothing to worry us up-front. Our exits were far better than they were last week. It was a far better performance,"
Young’s second score – just before half-time – was Wasps’ 86th in the league this season, beating Newcastle Falcons’ Premiership Rugby record (set in 1997/98) for scores in a 22-game campaign.
Saracens meanwhile looked off-colour all day, and must now travel to Exeter Chiefs in their semi-final, where director of rugby Mark McCall insists they will have to cut out the errors.
He said: "I thought Wasps definitely deserved to win the game.
"I think our effort was good but we made a lot of mistakes. They are not the kind of team you want to make handling errors against and they are the best broken-field team in the competition.
"We were hanging on for a while but our effort meant we were always in the fight and with 20 minutes to go it was an interesting game, but we continued to make the errors we made and they eventually pulled away,"