Wasps head coach Lee Blackett believes the current crop of players are not burdened by the club’s not-so-distant glorious past as they go in search of a first piece of silverware in 12 years.
Should the Black and Golds secure a 12th win in 14 games under the guidance of Blackett when Bristol Bears head to the Ricoh Arena tomorrow, Wasps stand just 80 minutes away from lifting a seventh Premiership title in the final on October 24.
Many of the current crop of stars such as Jacob Umaga, Jack and Tom Willis were in primary school when Lawrence Dallaglio lifted the 2007/8 league trophy, in what was Wasps’ sixth major honour of that decade. It also proved to be the club’s most-recent honour achieved.
“There are photos in the back of the room, that was part of us embracing what had gone on so there is photos of the Lawrence Dallaglio era but I speak to some of the young kids now and talk about Jonny Wilkinson and some of them don’t really know who he is, they think he commentates!,” said Blackett. “So really some of them might not even remember it. We’re trying to focus on ourselves really.”
The closest Wasps have come to adding to their trophy cabinet since moving to Coventry in December 2014 was the 2016/17 Premiership final. A late penalty conceded in normal time followed by another Gareth Steenson three pointer in extra time saw Exeter Chiefs pip them to the title.
Blackett, who has been with Wasps for the majority of their journey in the Midlands, said there had been a shift behind the scenes to ’embrace’ the club’s past, that stretches back to 1867.
“I know three or four years ago it was all about making our own history,” he said. “That was somewhere we went and then we seemed to have a shift, it was actually last season it seemed to be then a shift of ‘we’ve got to embrace our past’ so we’re fully aware of what’s there.
“I don’t think it puts any pressure on us, it’s not something we’ve overly spoken about, I’ve had private conversations especially with some of the leaders about that, about do we embrace our history and the feeling amongst us at this moment in time is that we feel fairly new, the environment feels fairly new.
“That was probably more the last two or three years speaking about conversations about that rather than looking back at your Lawrence Dallaglio era. But it’s something that we’re aware of.”
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