IT’S ONLY TUESDAY, but already Leinster and Wasps are on the charm offensive ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium.
Both camps have been building each other up over the last few days as we edge closer to the eagerly-anticipated clash, and Dai Young has continued that trend by waxing lyrical about a much-improved Leinster side.
“We were in the semi-finals last season and we know we’ve got a huge challenge going to Dublin to play against a formidable 23. Leinster aren’t just a team of 15, their bench is going to be massive for them,” the Wasps director of rugby told EPCR.
Indeed, Leinster are a completely different outfit to the one which suffered home-and-away defeats to the English club during the group stages last year — but Wasps are a different beast this time around too.
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Wasps have arguably one of the strongest, and most destructive, backlines in the competition with Danny Cipriani, Jimmy Gopperth, Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Kurtley Beale among those available to Young; the Premiership leaders ran in 28 tries en route to topping their pool.
Leinster were given a rude awakening in Coventry the last time the two sides met but Young knows it will be a completely different occasion this weekend.
“They’ll certainly be up for it, and we’ll have to rise to the occasion and will need to put in a performance. We’ll have to be at our best to go there get a result.
Wasps ran riot the last time the two teams met. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
“These are the games you want to be involved in. Leinster have come on leaps and bounds after what was, by their own admission, a bit of a transition time last season,” added Young.
“But they were nowhere near as bad as people were making out. It was just that they weren’t quite as successful as they usually are – most teams would settle for a slip for just one season.
“I’m impressed by the whole Leinster team. Their defence is a lot meaner, a lot tougher than in the past and their line speed is much better and they’re aggressive in that area.
“Emotion is only going to get you so far. It’s up to us to make sure we want it just as much as they do.”
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