Wasps head coach Lee Blackett heaped praise on the back row that helped inspire his side to a 34-21 victory over Northampton Saints.
Thomas Young and Jack Willis were a constant thorn in the hosts’ side at Franklin’s Gardens with the former picking up the television man-of-the-match award and the latter scoring his ninth try of a remarkable season.
England international Brad Shields was also influential from number eight as Wasps surged to victory with two tries from Josh Bassett and a bonus-point sealing effort from prop Ben Harris.
Here’s what Blackett said in his post-match press conference. ..
On picking up the win…
“I thought that we held them out and we were on the wrong side of the discipline front. We spent a lot of time defending in our own 22,I thought we held it really well and I think that won us the game. Our setpiece was good, our attack was clinical. I still think we can get better in terms of our attack still, I thought we were a little bit loose on our turnover, and a bit on our composure, that’s what we expected considering we’ve not played in a while.
“Obviously delighted with the win, especially against a tough side like Northampton.”
Back row prowess…
“I thought all of our back-row was good. Obviously Thomas got the television man of the match, any of the three could’ve got it. I thought they were really good in terms of in and around the breakdown, a couple of vital steals.
“I think Jack [Willis] is proving himself at this moment in time. He keeps working hard, he’s one of the guys who has a last off the training ground, first on, type mentality. He won’t die wondering within his career.
Are the new law interpretations beneficial for Wasps at the breakdown?
“I think if you look the way Super Rugby was, players will get used to it quicker, and I also think that the referees will get used and I think we will find a middle ground. You’d like to think so, that’s why we played two out-and-out sevens, plus we had Brad Shields who is pretty good over the ball as well. You like to think it would help us, we selected a team first week having watched the Super Rugby and seen the games this weekend, probably backed up our opinion of the back row we chose. It was great to see.”
Kieran Brookes left the field before half-time with a shoulder issue…
“It was his shoulder, I think it might be his AC joint. I don’t really know at this moment in time. It didn’t look the greatest, he was obviously in a bit of pain with it. We will see where that is, hopefully it will not be as serious as first thought.”
Kiwi Jeff Toomaga-Allen came on and held his own…
“I think when we forget sometimes when these guys come over from the southern hemisphere, how long it can take to adapt. The game is different, as you’ve seen with a lot of people that have come over, it takes a few months for them to get into it. I felt Jeff was getting there towards the back end before we stopped and definitely through this period I’ve been really pleased with how he’s been and it’s no shock that the performance he put in after coming on.”
Worcester in five days, will there be many changes?
“I think in terms of this, you’re going to have to rotate, you can’t keep the same team every week. There’s going to be some changes no doubt and we’ve just got to try and get through this period and come out of it as best we possibly can in the end.”
Jack Willis’ chances of an England call-up this autumn…
“That’s up to Eddie [Jones, England head coach], I think England’s back row has been as strong as it’s ever been in terms of strength and depth, I think the young guys all seem to be at that age coming through. Jack will be there or thereabouts, there’s no doubt. He can’t not be. Hopefully he keeps working hard, keeps playing well, I am pretty sure he will get a call-up.”