1st Jul, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Blackett: Wasps would be crazy to write Bath off

LEE BLACKETT insists Wasps would be “crazy” to take basement club Bath lightly ahead of their Gallagher Premiership clash this weekend.

Wasps have won four of their last five games in all competitions after snatching a last gasp 27-26 victory at Exeter Chiefs last weekend.

And that result means Wasps sit sixth in the Premiership standings as they look to close the six-point gap to fourth-placed Harlequins who occupy the final play-off spot.

Wasps will hope to carry their momentum into this weekend’s fixture with bottom side Bath with Head Coach Blackett wary of the Somerset club’s mini-resurgence in form.

Blackett said: “They’ve won two out of their last three in the Premiership, they’ll be disappointed with last week which is never really the time you want to play a team.

“They’ve got dangers, we know Nathan [Hughes] really well here and the threat he is as a ball carrier, [Ben] Spencer is massive for them in terms of what he brings with his kicking game and he’s also a threat around the ruck, we’ve got to make sure we don’t fall for any of his dummies.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Bath in terms of the youngsters they’re bringing through, they’re a dangerous team and we’d be crazy to write them off.

“We went down there and won at the start of the season but the red card really changed that game, we’re fully aware we’re going to have to be at our best to make sure we win at the weekend.”

And Blackett was delighted to claim another victory at Sandy Park last weekend as Wasps enter a crucial period of the season.

Blackett added: “I was disappointed with certain parts of the game but sometimes as a coach you need a reality check and the reality check from that game was getting the points which was the most important thing.

“It was the second time in 15 attempts that we’ve taken five points away from Exeter, the way we played in the last six to eight minutes, to go 30 phases after kick-off having just scored and go another 12 phases was a pretty special way to win the game.

“You saw at the end, normally you would expect people to lose the plot when you win it that late but half of our boys were on the floor dead, they’d given absolutely everything and fair play to them for what they gave to find a way to win.

“It shows how much it means to them, we know how big this period is and we’ve started this period with two wins which is massive for us.”

However, the Coventry-based club will be without influential captain Joe Launchbury this weekend after he received a call up to Eddie Jones’ England squad despite only having made two appearances since returning from a nine-month injury.

He said: “I think that shows the quality of the player and the respect England have for him, he’s played 100 minutes since coming back from nine months out and then he gets picked.

“Joe is only going to get better, whenever you’re coming back from a long-term injury it takes a few weeks to get back to your absolute best, how quickly he’s got back into the mix shows what everyone thinks of Joe.

“You get a load of injuries and people think it just effects your match but it effects the way you train, you’ve got limited numbers, you can’t train the way you want to train and now we’ve got competition for places.

“We’re training quicker and as a result we’re playing quicker, we’ve been able to regularly get 15 vs 15 and challenge each other on the training field, that’s what I’ve seen since the London Irish game.”

Wasps host Bath on Saturday, February 12 with kick-off at 3pm at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

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