WASPS Defence Coach Matt Everard admitted it was hard “not to get emotional” after Wasps secured a memorable win against Toulouse last weekend.
Despite losing Jacob Umaga to a first-half red card, Wasps overcame the odds to claim a phenomenal 30-22 victory at the Coventry Building Society Arena and keep their European campaign alive.
And Wasps face another tough test this weekend when they travel to Irish province Munster having lost 35-14 in the reverse fixture in Coventry last month.
However, coming into the clash off the back of their best two performances this season, Everard believes momentum is key to Wasps’ success in Ireland.
Everard said: “It’s been brilliant the last two weeks, we feel really proud, the effort and confidence of the group – they emptied themselves.
“The Leicester game was like a test match, there were guys that could hardly walk the next day and couldn’t train for a few days afterwards.
“To back it up against French and European champions, it was hard not to get emotional as a coaching team, we’re really proud of the lads.
“Hopefully, we can take the confidence into the Munster game, momentum is massive in sport, the base we have from those last two big performances, it’s going to be another massive challenge for the lads, we’re really looking forward to it.”
Umaga’s red card against Toulouse was his second in as many matches after he received his marching orders for a similar tackle against London Irish two weeks previously.
And the fly-half has been slapped with a four-week ban for his latest dismissal with Everard insisting the club will continue to work on his tackle technique.
Everard added: “Jacob’s got four weeks which is probably the best outcome that we could have hoped for, he’s got a red card off the back of a red card for a reasonably similar incident.
“He works extremely hard on his tackle technique, he was playing really well up until that point, he’s not played 15 for a good few years, he was really imposing himself on the game.
“He actually tries to tackle with his wrong shoulder, the Toulouse player has put some brilliant footwork on him at the last second and Jacob has failed to adjust to it, there was absolutely no malice in it whatsoever.
“He’s gutted, we just have to continue to work on his tackle technique as a club, as a coaching team watching it live we all through it was going to be a red.
“We never thought about appealing it, with regards to player welfare, it’s the right decision because of the head-on-head contact, you’ve got to look after the ball carrier and Jacob just got it wrong in that last half a second unfortunately.”
Everard hopes Umaga’s suspension will be offset by the return of several players from injury with Dan Robson, Tom West, Gabriel Oghre, Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, Elliott Stooke, Vaea Fifita and Elliot Millar-Mills all in contention.
He said: “The last two games have been huge, then you go to Munster with all their pedigree and history, next week we’ve got Saracens and the week after that we’ve got Exeter.
“It’s how we sustain that and keep going week-to-week, I’m a big believer in momentum and how that drives confidence.
“Jacob is a brilliant player, we saw that in that first half an hour against Toulouse, we’re always going to be sad to not have him on the pitch.
“A few of the guys are coming back from injury now which is exciting, hopefully selection gets more and more competitive.”
Wasps travel to Munster on Sunday, January 23 with kick-off at 3.15pm at Thomond Park.
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