5th Jul, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Blackett believes Wasps semi-final with Lyon is club's biggest game for a couple of seasons

Aaron Sutcliffe 11th May, 2022 Updated: 12th May, 2022

HEAD Coach Lee Blackett feels Wasps European Challenge Cup semi-final against Lyon is the club’s biggest game in the last few seasons.

Wasps could reach their first European final in 15 years with a win in Lyon this weekend as they aim to win for the competition for just the second time in the club’s history.

Having dropped into the tournament after being knocked out at the pool stage of the European Champions Cup, wins away at Biarritz and Edinburgh Rugby secured a place in the last four.

And Blackett is looking forward to the occasion as his side try to secure a third successive win on their travels in Europe to reach the final.

Blackett said: “It’s probably the biggest game for a couple of seasons since we were last in the knockout stages of the Premiership.

“When you start pre-season, these are the moments you do it all for, to get to knockout stages of competitions.

“There’s only a certain amount of competitions you can win a season, whenever you get into the knockout stages of any competition you get excitement.

“That’s the beauty of Europe, you’re playing teams that you don’t play week in week out, it’s enjoyable because it’s different.

“This competition is designed for Champions Cup teams, if you drop out of the Champions Cup you’re going to have to win it the tough way because you drop into a lot of away games.”

Opponents Lyon sit fifth in the Top 14 table and beat domestic leaders Montpellier in their last home league fixture before ousting Glasgow Warriors with an impressive comeback to seal their semi-final place.

Blackett added: “Lyon are a team in form, they’re a big collision team, the way they came back against Glasgow, at the end they looked like they won comfortably.

“If we make this game an individual game, they’ve got people that can really harm you, if the game breaks up and becomes loose then they’ve got people who can hurt you big time.

“They’re ranked number one in the Top 14 for ball in play, possession they’re ranked number one and territory they’re ranked number one.

“We know what a challenge this is going to be, the crowd is going to be against you, it goes up a volume in France, it can be really hostile.”

Wasps clash with Lyon takes place on Saturday, May 14 with kick-off at 12.30pm at Matmut Stadium de Gerland.


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