LONDON Wasps have been drawn against fellow Aviva Premiership side Exeter Chiefs in the quarter-final of the European Champions Cup following Saturday’s emphatic 51-10 over Irish giants Leinster.
Dai Young’s side finished top of Pool 5 after easing their way to victory against the Dubliners at the Ricoh Arena.
Despite being close at 15-10 at the break, the men in black and gold produced a storming second half showing by scoring 36 unanswered points.
And with Toulon failing to secure a bonus points with themselves, Wasps finished up as pool winners and will host Exeter at the beginning of April.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Young. “It was a fantastic win for us as a squad and as a club.
“It’s a huge achievement to get out of this group because there certainly weren’t many backing us when the draw was made.
“I’m really proud of the players, I think we thoroughly deserve it. We’ve lost two games very narrowly – at home here to Bath in the 82nd minute and out in France to Toulon in the 81st minute, so I thought we thoroughly deserved to come out of this group.”
There were several players who stamped their authority on the match, but Young singled out England pair Joe Launchbury and Elliot Daly who will be hoping to represent their country at next month’s Six Nations competition.
“I thought Joe Launchbury was outstanding. He not only carried really strongly and broke the gain line, but he did a lot of work around the ruck area, caused them problems, slowed their ball down, made lots of tackles, so it was a really influential game from Joe.
“Everyone can see Elliot’s talent, everyone knows what he can do going forward. Questions marks were raised over his defence but I think he’s answered those over the last few seasons.
“He’s worked really hard on his physicality and he’s making the right decisions. He does the simple things well and there’s not many players that can do what he does if he gets an opportunity.
“I was really pleased for them but I can’t stress enough that it was a great team performance. I am proud of every player out there.”
Wasps return to league action this Friday when they host fifth-placed Northampton Saints and Young wants to see his side take their European form into domestic action.
He added: “The focus now is quite simple – we’ve enjoyed Europe and we’ve probably played our best stuff in Europe, but it took us ten months to get there and we’ve got to win that right again.
“That’s why we’ll be switching straight back into the Aviva Premiership now, where we lie sixth in the table, but it’s so tight in the Premiership.
“A couple of losses and you’re going to be looking over your shoulder, a couple of wins is going to cement yourself in there, so as much as we can enjoy Saturday we need to make sure that we’re there again next season.”