Friday, 23 August 2013

Season's Preview: Wasps


Founded: 1867

Years in Top Tier: 26

Last Year: 8th in Prem (48 points), Quarter Finals of Amlin Challenge Cup, Group Stage Anglo-Welsh

Europe: Amlin Challenge Cup

Director of Rugby: Dai Young


In: Andy Goode (Worcester), Matt Mullan (Worcester), Kearnan Myall (Sale), Joe Carlisle (Worcester), Nathan Hughes (Auckland), Ed Jackson (London Welsh), Jack Moates (London Irish),  Rory Pittman (Rotherham), Jake Cooper-Woolley (Cardiff), Josh Bassett (Bedford), Neil Cochrane (Bedford), Guy Thompson (Jersey), Ricky Reeves (Bedford), Taione Vea (North Harbour), Will Helu (Timisoara), Ben Jacobs (Melbourne Rebels), Esteban Lozada (Agen)

Out: Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Nicky Robinson (Bristol), Zak Taulafo (Stade Francais), Stephen Jones (Retiring), T. Rhys Thomas (Newport), Alex Rae (Jersey), Tinus Du Plessis (Unknown), Chris Mayor (Unknown), Jonathan Poff (Unknown), Lewis Thiede (London Scottish), Lorenzo Romano (Unknown), Stuart Commins (Ealing), Jack Wallace (Bristol), Will Robinson (London Welsh), Marco Wentzel (Unknown-SA), Tim Payne (Retiring), Lee Thomas (Retiring)

Ins: 17

Outs: 16

Another summer at Wasps and another huge amount of flux and churn.  Out are Billy Vunipola, Zak Taulafo, Nicky Robinson, Stephen Jones, Marco Wentzel, Tim Payne and Jonathan Poff; in are Andy Goode, Matt Mullan, Kearnan Myall, Ben Jacobs and Ed Jackson.

With that amount of change, especially to senior leaders like Marco Wentzel and Tim Payne and important positions like fly half Wasps will have another year of false hope and knocking around outside the Heineken Cup qualification places.

With wingers like Christian Wade and Tom Varndell Wasps are capable of beating anyone; no defence can be certain of holding them.  But they seem to lazily rely on the outstanding individual contributions from those two and players like Elliot Daly instead of working on scoring consistently from earned field positions.  Last year their defence was as leaky as a sieve, a far cry from the Dallaglio led glory days.

In coming are a lot of highly rated players from the Championship, Bedford winger Josh Basset was top try scorer in 2012, Jersey openside Guy Thompson was rated the best player in the division last year and Scottish hooker Neil Cochrane scored 10 tries last season for Bedford.  

From the Premiership Andy Goode and Matt Mullan are joining from Worcester and Ed Jackson has built himself a big reputation with London Welsh.  From Auckland comes Fijian number 8 Nathan Hughes.

Without some stability in their squad Wasps will always remain in a state of transition.

Prediction: 9th

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