Four games in. Two wins, two defeats. Eleven points on the board. Solid enough start I think most would agree and at least one of those defeats could and should have been a victory. Supporters of Bath, Bristol and Worcester are probably the most concerned at the moment, whilst those following Leicester must be loving what they are doing.
A few quick thoughts on Wasps:
- Recruitment. It’s very early days but have Wasps seem to have recruited superbly, particularly in the pack. Dan Frost, Elliot Stooke and Vaea Fifita have all been excellent, with Robin Hislop looking very comfortable at this level. It’s great to see and bodes really well for the weeks ahead.
- Injuries. There’s not much let up on this is there, with James Gaskell the latest to suffer a pretty significant setback. It’s a worry and I can only hope that in the coming weeks we’ll start to see players returning from the treatment room onto the pitch rather than travelling the other way.
- England selection. I think like most I was disappointed but sadly not surprised to see Dan Robson not included in the latest England squad. It’s baffling he’s never had a start in an England game and it must be difficult to permanently be a ‘finisher’ and having to come on to either see out a game or chase it. England have clearly got some great prospects coming through but I feel it’s a genuine shame he’s never been trusted with a run of starts. I expect he’ll prove the selectors wrong in the coming weeks and be back in the mix for the six nations.
- Wales selection. It was good to see Thomas Young called up for Wales and not at all surprising to read this will be his last season playing in Coventry. He has been an absolute stalwart for Wasps and he is going to take some replacing. I would suggest that Wasps need to look at the southern hemisphere for this one and find someone who is not going to get called up for their country, as Wasps have benefited from the luxury of having Young during most international periods. Plenty of time to consider that, for now I’m going to appreciate seeing him in club colours for a few more matches yet.
- Rotation. Lee Blackett advised he was going to have to mix things up a little for the trip to Saracens, which seemed to work well last time if I recall. Be interesting to see what he does and how many changes are made against a team who looked very impressive last time out. I’m expecting to see first starts of the season for Nizaam Carr, Tim Cardall, Will Simmonds and Francois Hougaard, plus a return to the starting XV for Ali Crossdale.
Looking at the fixtures ahead, Wasps have a block of three before the break which the premiership cup should offer many of the playing squad. Saracens away, Bath away then Harlequins at home. Based on the England squad, both Bath and Harlequins could be missing a few for those matches whilst I expect Saracens will be looking to continue to pile on the points after last week. For me, if Wasps can get anything close to eight points from those fixtures, it will be reason to be cheerful with some calvary scheduled to arrive not long after.
Safe travels to all those heading down to Saracens. Don’t forget your caps, and a stick of celery. It might be sunny and you might get hungry.