Aviva Premiership
Youngs demands Wasps forget past glories
Graham Jenkins
August 8, 2012
RPA Rugby Manager David Barnes, Wasps' Stephen Jones, Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young, Wasps' Nic Berry and Mind chief executive Paul Farmer announce a two-year partnership between the Premiership club and the leading mental health charity Mind, London, England, August 7, 2012
Wasps boss Dai Young was speaking at the announcement of a two-year partnership with the leading mental health charity Mind © London Wasps

Wasps boss Dai Young has urged the club to stop dwelling on past glories and demanded his players start to write their own history.

The four-time Premiership champions narrowly escaped relegation from the top flight last season after a troubled campaign on and off the field. A losing bonus point on the final day of the regular season proved just enough to avoid the drop - a far cry from the success-laden days of recent memory that also saw them twice crowned Heineken Cup winners.

"People keep talking about Wasps as Premiership champions and Heineken Cup winners but that is not us, that was a long time ago," Young told ESPN. "Yes we are proud of our history and tradition but this group is not that team. We have to build our own history and tradition and we have to start by making some big strides forward this season.

"We did well to stay up in the end but things are not just going to happen for us this season because we are Wasps."

Speaking at the announcement of a two-year partnership between the club and leading mental health charity Mind, Young also offered a blunt assessment of their shortcomings last term.

"To be honest we have to improve on most of the stuff we did last season," he said, reflecting on his first league campaign with the club that produced just six victories. "But I am confident we can do that. We have a stronger squad and everybody is determined to make it happen and no-one is sitting back expecting it to happen.

"It is a different atmosphere this year compared to last year. Heading into November when things weren't going well a lot of people who had been Wasps for a long time thought we would come good after Christmas as they had always done. But that was when they used to get all the internationals back and we haven't got those guys anymore. There was then a realisation as to who we are now and the work that we are going to have to put in to close the gap on the teams above us."

Young, whose side were also plagued by injuries last season, admitted that last season was also a learning experience for him with the club's financial difficulties and constant speculation regarding the ownership of the club adding to his woes.

"You would like to be able to draw the line but it is a bit blurred and when you don't really know what the future holds you are restricted as to what you can do. From my point of view, and some may see it as a ridiculous statement, keeping Wasps up last year was my best achievement as a coach. Given the number of the injuries we had, all the issues off the field and trying to protect the players. We could have folded or chucked the towel in but I was really pleased to get over the line. Whatever comes our way now could never be as bad as last year."

The ensuing months has seen Young bolster his squad with the likes of England internationals James Haskell and Tom Palmer and former Six Nations Player of the Year, Italy's Andrea Masi and he is expecting positive results.

"You have got to be very clever in how you give players a rest because with the relegation factor and the top six factor it is very difficult to make sure you get the right team on the field to win any given fixture and also ensure they last the pace.

"I think we are going to be tighter as a group and we are really determined that we are not going into the last month of the season constantly looking over our shoulder. There are a lot of good sides in this league but we certainly intend not to be in the sort of trouble we were last time."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Graham Jenkins is the Senior Editor of ESPNscrum and you can also follow him on Twitter.

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