22nd Oct, 2021

RUGBY UNION - Wasps coach Blackett insists Premiership is more competitive than ever

WASPS head coach Lee Blackett believes this season’s Premiership will be the “most competitive” he has ever seen ahead of his side’s clash with Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park this weekend.

The Coventry-based club secured an emphatic 44-8 win against Bristol Bears in their season opener last time out but is expecting a much sterner test against an impressive Newcastle side.

The Falcons were edged out by reigning champions Harlequins in week one before securing a superb away win at Bath in their most recent outing.

Wasps are hoping to maintain their perfect start to the campaign in the North East and coach Blackett is fully aware of the qualities Newcastle possess.

Blackett said: “As a league, this has to be the most competitive I’ve seen the Premiership by far, there’s so many teams that could be battling at either end of the table.

“Newcastle are a good side, they came to us and beat us last year, they’ve got a good pack, that’s one of their biggest strengths, they’re really aggressive in defence.

“They’ve got four guys in the England squad which shows exactly where they’re going, we know how tough it’s going to be.

“You get strange results after a Lions tour, there’s a lot of teams missing some key players at the moment.”

The 38-year-old was delighted with his side’s performance in their six try win against Bristol with debutant Ali Crossdale crossing for two tries.

Fellow debutant Dan Frost also dotted down along with Brad Shields, Tom Willis and Zach Kibirige although captain Shields later saw red for committing two cynical offences.

Blackett added: “The performance was the most pleasing thing, I was really happy with us defensively, the more confident we became we just got better and better.

“I’m really happy with how the new players have settled, the big thing is not to get carried away with that performance, it was a good performance, but the score probably didn’t reflect the game.

“We showed loads of fight and loads of character.”

Blackett and his coaching staff were not shy in showing their emotions during last week’s success and he wants his players to show that same passion on the pitch.

He said: “I like seeing that in sportspeople, I love to see manager’s like Jurgen Klopp on the sideline showing their passion, I’m not afraid to show my emotion.

“I just want people to be themselves and I want people to be emotional – it is an emotional sport.”

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