27th Jun, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Blackett: Wasps do not want to be underdogs ahead of Toulouse clash

LEE Blackett insists Wasps do not want to be underdogs as they prepare to face reigning European champions Toulouse this weekend.

 

The Coventry club ended Leicester Tigers 11-match winning run in the Gallagher Premiership last time out with a memorable 16-13 victory.

 

And Wasps now turn their attention back to their European campaign which began with a home defeat against Munster before their game against Toulouse in France was called off due to travel restrictions.

 

That game has since been recorded as a 0-0 draw with both teams taking two points and Blackett admitted that, following their impressive win against Leicester, there is no bigger reality check than facing Toulouse.

 

Blackett said: “When you’ve got Toulouse in six days time, that’s as big of a reality check as you’re going to have.

 

“We don’t want to be underdogs, it means you are doing things wrong if you’re the underdog, that’s not what we want to be.

 

“It’s crucial to start winning at home to get the supporters coming back, that’s big for us, we’ve had a couple of really good crowds recently.

 

“We’re getting everyone back, Paolo Odogwu and Ben Morris are coming back into the frame this week, they’re available, and Jacob [Umaga] is back from his ban this week.

 

“Joe [Launchbury] did some units and skills this week, he’s probably a couple of weeks away.”

 

Wasps victory against Leicester was just their second win in nine matches in all competitions and came despite some late changes to the starting lineup.

 

Head Coach Blackett praised the resilience his side showed to overcome the formidable Tigers and feels his side are getting closer to their full potential.

 

Blackett added: “The emotion was throughout everyone, we’ve not been on the greatest run, we lost people really late, coming up against a team that’s unbeaten and are our local rivals.

 

“It meant a lot to everyone and it was the way we won it as well, we had to work so hard for it, the little things went against us, to come away with the result was a big relief.

 

“One thing I’ve learnt is what a good group of players we’ve got, everyone has stayed completely focused, we realise where we’re at and we’re not a million miles away, we’ve been really resilient at times.

 

“We’ve had to change our side right at the last minute quite a few times this season and you see how people react in those situations.”

 

Defeat this weekend would mark Wasps’ worst home run in the competition, having lost their previous two home fixtures, and Blackett hopes his side can produce the same performance as last week to avoid the unwanted record.

 

He said: “It doesn’t come much better [than Toulouse], we spoke about the quality half-backs Leicester have, you have to look at the quality half-backs Toulouse have, they don’t get much better.

 

“We’re going to have to be on our game, if you start looking at individuals too much, you’ll get caught out because they’ve got internationals throughout.

 

“When you’re coming up against a Premiership team, a lot of the players know how they attack, when you’re coming up against a French team, the boys haven’t boxed them that much.

 

“They are different to other teams, the way they keep the ball alive with their offloading game, we’ve got to be really aware of that, they’ve got a good set-piece, especially at the scrum, they’re not European champions for nothing.

 

“We’re not getting carried away with the performance, we want to bottle everything we did last week and get ourselves in that position, our mindset in that game was second to none, it was one hell of an effort.”

 

Wasps host Toulouse on Saturday, January 15 with kick-off at 1pm at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

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