5th Jul, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Blackett: Wasps need to be loud and confident

HEAD Coach Lee Blackett insists his Wasps side need to be “louder” and “more confident” when they travel to Bath in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend.


Wasps were beaten 56-15 by Saracens last time out as a much-changed side struggled to cope with the league’s most potent attack.


The club handed debuts to five players at the StoneX Stadium with Sebastian de Chaves, Alex McHenry, Elliot Millar-Mills, Tommy Mathews and Luke Mehson all appearing for the first time in Wasps colours.


However, despite having made 12 changes from the squad that lost to Exeter Chiefs a fortnight ago – Blackett insists he demands the same level of performance from every player who pulls on a Wasps jersey.


Blackett said: “We set Wasps standards – no matter who is on the field we set Wasps standards.


“There’s no difference in tone or in the review after the game – there were plenty of things that we weren’t happy with at the weekend.


“It’s about stepping forward and being confident in what you’re doing – the more confident you are, the louder you become – it was a big learning experience for us, we can’t be quiet as a side.


“There was fight, there was desire – we looked like a team that hadn’t played together, we looked quiet out there, it was a little bit disjointed, when you become quiet you become very individual.


“We scored a couple of good tries – there were some good individual performances, Zach Kibirige looks back to his best at the moment, Ali Crossdale had another good game and Jimmy [Gopperth] was a brilliant leader for us.”


Up next for Wasps is a trip to bottom of the table Bath – who have lost all five of their matches this season – however Blackett is well aware of the threat posed by the Somerset club.


Blackett added: “We are well aware at where Bath’s mindset will be – it’s the first home game they’ve had since Saracens – they’ve had really narrow losses.


“They’re a dangerous team with great individuals, we’ll treat them with the upmost respect and know we’ll have to be at our best on Saturday to get the win.


“We need to get back to winning ways with a fair few guys coming back into the side from last week fresh and ready to go for this one.”


Blackett’s squad remains ravaged by injuries and he feels the amount of players who carried existing problems into the new season has made life difficult for his team thus far.


He said: “We’ve had our fair share of bad luck – the big thing for us was the carry over from last season – usually in pre-season you get everyone back fit and playing – we had a fairly significant carry over.


“We always look really closely at every single injury that happens – was there anything we could have done to avoid it? – the majority seem to be contact injuries and you can’t do anything about that.


“You’ve got to be careful how much you wrap the guys in cotton wool, if you start doing that you will risk even more injuries – the majority of ours are happening in games.


“You’ve just got to look at the next job – anyone who looks too far behind gets frustrated – who’s going to get the next opportunity and try and move forward.”


Wasps travel to Bath on Saturday, October 30 with kick-off at the Reaction Ground at 3pm.

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