Work and family commitments have prevented me from putting ‘pen to paper’ recently, so a few points to promote some discussion below, fresh off the back of a good home win in the league against Worcester. Six tries on Saturday, six discussion points.
- Jack is back! I felt genuinely privileged to be at the Harlequins game when Jack Willis made his comeback. Since then, I think it is fair to say he has got stronger and stronger each week. At the weekend against Worcester he was (as was his brother when he came on) a constant nuisance at the breakdown. Interestingly he was also skipper for the last part of the game, following the substitutions of Joe Launchbury, Dan Robson, Brad Shields and Jimmy Gopperth. A sign of things to come?
- It’s gone a little under the radar I feel but how much has Gabriel Oghre’s lineout work improved this season? It came under the spotlight back in 2020 but I think he deserves enormous credit for the way he has bounced back from the disappointment in the final. He is developing into some player when you throw in the impact he has around the field.
- A slightly controversial one this perhaps, but I’d like to see Paolo Odowgu given a run in the 13 jersey, rather than Malakai Fekitoa. The latter is clearly an incredible individual but I’m not convinced his form is brilliant currently, and he is off to Munster next season. I think the former is better suited to the outside centre role and will be here next season, yet he’s barely featured in the that position this year. Be interested what others think about this?
- In the past few weeks, any time the team is announced you can put your mortgage on the fact someone will ask ‘where is Ali Crossdale?’. I noted he wasn’t a playing reserve at the weekend and it is a while since he has featured in the matchday 23. I saw someone on one of the FB groups suggesting he was off. My thoughts are that Wasps are pretty set on giving Jacob Umaga a run in that jersey in the second playmaker role and that the coaches know what they are doing. It’s certainly one to watch, as are the futures of the two other specialist full backs, Rob Miller and Matteo Minozzi.
- Since I last posted a few incomings have been confirmed for next season. I suspect there’s still a fair few outgoings to be announced, in addition to the ones we know about. Which leaves this question – where do you think Wasps most need to strengthen next season? I think they are still a centre light, though I do have high hopes for the academy lad who has been promoted to the first team squad, based on a couple of conversations I’ve had. I also wonder if a new hooker might be bought in, most likely from the championship. What do you think?
- Finally, who is going to get fourth place this season? The top three looks pretty set now but having studied the table today, it’s pretty open for that final playoff slot. I think Wasps are very much outsiders to grab that place but it’s by no means impossible, whereas Exeter might miss out on the playoffs for the first time in a long while. If Wasps don’t do it, I hope Northampton Saints do, but whoever makes it is going to have their work cut out. I feel the top three are a level above the others at the moment, despite the fact Wasps have beaten two of them, and very nearly beat the other, this season!
As always, thanks for reading. Have a good week.