RUGBY UNION: DAI Young has revealed that an inspired half-time team talk did the job as his Wasps side came from behind to beat Exeter Chiefs in their opening match of the new Aviva Premiership campaign.
A disappointing opening 40 minutes saw Wasps losing 8-17 at the midway point at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday with Jimmy Gopperth scoring Wasps’s only try of the half shortly after the half-hour mark as well as slotting home an 18th minute penalty.
After the break Exeter moved 12 points clear but Wasps head did not drop and tries from Dan Robson and debutant Tommy Taylor, both converted by Gopperth, put Young’s side in front and a late Gopperth penalty rounded up a 25-20 victory.
“Well, we certainly kept everyone in the stadium until the final whistle again didn’t we?” joked Young.
“We’ve got to be pleased that we found a way to get our game going and got ourselves back into the game.
“Everything we talked about before the game, we didn’t do in the first half. We talked about having a big start, not giving away penalties and not letting them have a platform inside our 22 and within five minutes we had committed all of those sins.
“But in fairness, everything we talked about at halftime the players went out and delivered, so I’m pretty pleased with that.
“I know it’s a cliche, but it certainly was a game of two halves.
“First half I was disappointed with our work rate. We weren’t getting in position quick enough to take the game to Exeter, which resulted in us kicking the ball away too many times, but when you analyse it there was very little else we could have done but kick.
“That’s not the way we want to play, so at half time we talked about working harder, getting into position earlier, winning the gain line battle and getting collision dominance.
“That would allow us to get some front foot quick ball and if we get quick ball we know we’re a threat. That’s pretty much what happened in the second half, we lacked a bit of accuracy, but if you look at the weekend as a whole I think there were mistakes in every game, because it was the first game up.”
It was a busy summer for Wasps who welcomed no less than 12 new arrivals with Danny Cipriani making his eagerly anticipated return to Wasps while Tommy Taylor, Marty Moore and Matt Symons all made their competitive debuts.
“If you look at the way we have recruited, we want to play with that second distributor at 12,” Young added. “Jimmy (Gopperth) is best equipped to do that at this moment in time with the injuries that we’ve got.
“Danny was frustrated at half time, because he didn’t really have any option but to kick it, which meant we kicked it a bit too much. For his first hit up in the Wasps jersey again, I think he can be pretty pleased with how it went.
“At this stage of the season you’d settle for a win against a top team, they are certainly going to be there as a top four team in my mind. It’s up to us to keep it going and hopefully we can challenge them at the end of the season again.”