WASPS head coach Lee Blackett hopes his side can overcome a “dangerous” Northampton Saints team when they face off at the Coventry Building Society Arena this weekend.
The Coventry-based club were beaten at the death by Newcastle Falcons in their last outing – suffering an agonising 18-14 defeat.
And Sunday’s opponents Northampton have made a perfect start to their Gallagher Premiership campaign with three wins from as many matches.
Coach Blackett is expecting a tough test at the CBS Arena and stressed the importance of controlling the battle in the halves.
Blackett said: “It’s going to be really tough, they’ve had a great start in their opening three games.
“We know how dangerous they are, they’re good over the ball and they can be deadly off turnover ball.
“Our breakdown work is going to have to be really good, we’ve got to put our game to them.
“We have to manage their halfback’s – they’re a big part of their game, they’re a great attacking team.
“For everyone watching I think it’s going to be a great game of rugby.”
Blackett could not hide his frustration after Wasps loss to Newcastle last weekend as Callum Chick’s 79th minute try condemned his side to defeat.
An early score from Carl Fearns after just three minutes put the Falcons ahead with Will Haydon-Wood’s penalty extending their advantage to eight points at the break.
However, Wasps struck back after the interval through Tom Cruse’s try on 49 minutes when he broke away from the back of a driving maul with Jacob Umaga converting from the touchline.
Newcastle were reduced to 14-men when Tom Penny was dismissed on 55 minutes for an incident at the ruck only for Wasps’ Vaea Fifita to be sin-binned for a high tackle.
From the resulting penalty Brett Connon slotted the ball between the sticks to give the home side a four-point lead with 16 minutes left to play.
Wasps thought they had snatched victory in the 74th minute when Tom Willis dotted down after pouncing on a loose ball – only to be hit by a devastating break right at the death.
Chick finished off an 80-metre break up-field to inflict Wasps first defeat of the season with coach Blackett ruing his side’s use of the ball deep in Newcastle territory.
He said: “I’m still pretty frustrated, we did enough to win the game, I was happy with the fight we showed, our defence was really good.
“We had 11 opportunities in their 22 and we only converted two of them.
“We had the ball with a couple minutes to go at their end of the field and we ended up losing the game.
“That’s the Premiership – they’re tight games with tight margins.”
Wasps clash with Northampton kicks-off at 3pm at the CBS Arena on Sunday, October 10 as part of a double header alongside their women’s team.
Wasps Women take on Gloucester-Hartpury Women to complete the action at the CBS Arena with kick-off at 5:15pm.