Tuesday 25 April 2017

Young: We will have to be at our very best to beat Leinster

Wasps Dai Young is refusing to read anything into results. Photo: Sportsfile
Wasps Dai Young is refusing to read anything into results. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Old rivalries will be renewed when Leinster lock horns with Wasps in their Champions Cup quarter-final clash, and the Premiership side's boss knows that their opponents are a different proposition to last season.

Wasps were triumphant twice in the pool stages but Dai Young is refusing to read anything into those results as he has seen Leinster improve since then.

With the fixture confirmed for the Aviva Stadium, a sell-out crowd is expected to flock to the national stadium, where Leinster have already beaten English opposition in this year's competition.

Woeful

Northampton, however, were woeful back in December and Leo Cullen learned very little about his side from a facile win, but Leinster found the going much tougher in their two away trips to Castres and Montpellier.

Cullen will hope that home comforts count in Leinster's favour but Wasps will not fear coming to Dublin.

Last season's 51-10 loss away in Coventry was a record defeat on the road for Leinster as they failed to make amends for their 33-6 record home defeat at the RDS.

Those memories will be fresh in both sets of players' minds and after his side struggled for large parts in Zebre last weekend, Young is demanding a massive collective improvement from his side when the fixture comes around.

"We played Leinster twice last season, but they are a much-improved team who have been playing with real tempo this season," said Young after his side's victory at Zebre at the weekend.

"Last season, they were a team in transition, but they've really clicked this year so we know we'll have to be at our best against them.

"We have been to Dublin and won before so that will give us belief that we are capable of doing it again, but we are under no illusion about how much better we will need to be than we were today to achieve that.

"A performance like today won't be good enough against a team like Leinster."

Wasps have been flying this season and lead the Premiership by three points from Saracens, who in many people's eyes are favourites to retain the Champions Cup.

They have added plenty of fire-power to their backline with Kurtley Beale providing another dangerous dynamic.

The quarter-final will also see a return to Dublin for tighthead Marty Moore, who is enjoying a fine season with his new club.

Prove

Moore will be desperate to prove himself against two of Ireland's starting props, Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong - who Leinster opted to put their faith in rather than Moore.

Wasps are skippered by Joe Launchbury who is likely to be one of the Lions second-rows when they tour New Zealand in June and his battle with Devin Toner is set to be one of several fascinating sub-plots.

The England lock echoed Young's sentiments.

"If you get through to this stage there are no easy games and there are no easy games in Europe full stop, even in the group stages," Launchbury said.

"We're delighted to make it through to the knock-out stages, that's the third year in a row for us now, so we're ecstatic to get through.

"We understand now that the challenge ahead is really exciting going to Leinster. We did it last year in the group stages, so we're really excited about the challenge." 

Irish Independent

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