8th Dec, 2016

Wasps drawn against Toulouse, Connacht and Zebre in European Champions Cup

Steve Carpenter 2nd Jul, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

WASPS will face a different kind of pressure in the European Champions Cup after being drawn in the same pool as four-time winners Toulouse, Pro 12 champions Connacht and the only Italian side in the competition Zebre.

Dai Young’s side will be hoping they can go one better than last year’s semi-final spot when they lost out to Saracens back in April.

Last season Wasps had fight for a knockout spot with Leinster, Leinster and Bath but they came through that pool and Young knows his team are in for another difficult European campaign.

“I think every coach will tell you that there is no easy group and certainly no easy game in the European Champions Cup,” said Young.

“In one way, when you compare it to our pool last season, this group is probably as good as it gets in Europe, but at the same time that puts a lot more pressure on us.

“If you looked at our group last year, it was well recognised as the toughest pool out there, but that also meant there wasn’t much pressure on us because nobody expected us to get out of it. We did and we enjoyed a really successful run.

“Looking at the group this season, I hope people will give Connacht the respect they deserve as Pro 12 Champions, we certainly will.

“Zebre are improving and are a very difficult team to beat, particularly away from home. Toulouse are steeped in history and are one of the real powerhouses of European Rugby, as the side that has lifted the trophy a record number of times.

“I’m sure our Wasps fans will look forward to the four time European Champions and the Pro 12 Champions both coming to the Ricoh Arena, as well as to welcoming back a familiar face or two now playing at Zebre.

“It may certainly look like an easier group than last season on paper, but we’re not underestimating this, it’s a tough group and after last season there will be a more expectancy on us to do well.

“I’m confident if we play our best rugby we can qualify from this group. We know it is going to be tough, but if we can perform like we did last season we should get out.”