Saturday 25 January 2020

Rees urges current crop of Wasps to seize Amlin glory

Tom Rees has urged Wasps to use today's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Cardiff Blues as the launchpad for a new dynasty at the club.

When Lawrence Dallaglio lifted the trophy back in 2003 it sparked an unprecedented run of success for the club.

Over six years, they won four Guinness Premiership titles, two Heineken Cups and the Anglo-Welsh Powergen Cup -- establishing themselves as one of the dominant forces in England and Europe.

Wasps failed to qualify for the Heineken Cup last season and their Premiership aspirations took a potentially fatal blow with last weekend's defeat by Bath.

But Rees believes today's showdown with a Blues side packed with internationals is the perfect opportunity for the new generation of Wasps to prove themselves.

"One thing I harp back to is that this was one of the first trophies this team of the modern era won," said Rees. "There are only a few players remaining from those days, this a largely new squad and it is important to win a trophy.

"It is not a case that this Wasps team can't handle the pressure of a big-game situation. By no means was that up to our standards at the weekend -- but it will be more a measure of ourselves this weekend in how we respond.

"I remember beating Leicester in the Premiership final just a couple of weeks after we had been up to Welford Road in the last game of the regular season and got smashed.

"Cardiff Blues have pretty much got an international team. It is perfect for us -- a massive challenge after a big disappointment last week. It will be the measure of us as a group in how we respond to that."

Irish Independent

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