WASPS director of rugby Dai Young has spoken of his pride despite the season ending in disappointment after watching his side miss out on a spot in the Aviva Premiership final.
A thrilling 2015/16 campaign came to a head in Exeter on Saturday as Wasps travelled down to Exeter looking to reach their first Premier Final at Twickenham since 2008.
Young’s side trailed by ten points at the Sandy Park Stadium Stadium but a brave second half fightback got them back to within four points however a late penalty try sealed a 34-23 victory for Exter.
It was a bitter pill to swallow Young and his side to taking following a rollercoaster campaign which also saw Wasps reach the semi-final of the European cup
“We’ve got to two semi-finals this year and fallen at the last hurdle on both occasions,” said Young. “Nothing I can say to the players can make it feel better for them at the moment.
“This is where we want to be challenging at the business end of the season, competing for a place in the Final.
“What we’ve seen throughout this year is a real togetherness across the club, not only in the rugby department but at the Ricoh as well. Everyone from commercial staff to marketing to stewards to the rugby club have all become one club and I can’t ask any more of them or the players.
“I’m disappointed, as I would have loved to get to a final for our owners Derek and Dawn and for our supporters, who have been magnificent from start to finish, but I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved this season. The boys should be proud of what they’ve done and a big thank you to all our Wasps fans for their support along the way.
“There’s still lot to improve, but we’ve come a long way this season, and this is where we want to be, in the latter stages of competitions.
“We’ve got to make sure we stick in there and be there at the end when these sort of opportunities come and if we get one or two we’ll take one.”
Gareth Steenson landed two early penalties before Wasps scored the opening try on 18 minutes thanks to Carlo Festuccia but Ian Whitten scored and Steenson landed the conversion to make it 13-7.
A Dan Robson try which was converted by Gopperth again put Wasps back in front but a coverted penalty try gave the hosts a 20-14 lead at half-time.
An early Gopperth penalty got Wasps back to within three points but Dave Ewers powered his way over the line and Steenson added the extras with eight minutes of the second half played.
Gopperth reduced the deficit to four points with two well taken penalties with 12 minutes remaining but a late penalty try, converted by Steenson, ended any hopes of Wasps making it to Twickenham.
“There wasn’t much in it and we missed a couple of opportunities in the second half where we could have turned the screw,” Young added.
“We know how good a team Exeter are and they proved it by being a bit more clinical than us when they had chances.
“Saturday was a fantastic occasion and all credit to Exeter Chiefs. What they’ve have done since they came up to the Premiership is a bit of a fairy-tale story, so you’ve got to take your hat off to them.”