At the risk of sounding like Radio 2’s Chris Evans when the Six Nations starts – the rugby’s back!
It took some time to get over the Premiership Final, when a slow start from Wasps was followed by a huge improvement in the 30 minutes either side of half time, after which an incredible defensive set which took us to within 90 seconds of the title.
Joe Launchbury and Nathan Hughes then had great summers with England, and despite Eddie Jones highlighting Anthony Watson’s performance with the Lions, Elliot Daly’s journey from squad player to three-time test match starter out of position, must have been the highlight of the Lions’ tour.
In July, Wasps took some flak for the way they approached winning the Singha Sevens. However, when your game is based on fast, free flowing rugby it is a perfect setting to gain some fitness and try some set moves.
A competitive pre-season has since seen some promising performances. Wasps’ third try against Connacht was created and finished by a Basset-Watson-Wade combination – no side in world rugby can deal with pace like that! In the same game, perhaps most surprising was the power of Wasps’ scrum while Hughes made some huge hits and Ashley Johnson again demonstrated why he is one of the most valuable and versatile players in our squad.
Looking forward, even with some noticeable departures, the squad looks stronger than last year and has great strength in depth, meaning a strong 23 will be available against Sale despite some big-name absentees.
Our props will seek to build on the 2015/16 season after injury disrupted last year. Simon McIntyre can push Matt Mullan for the starting berth, and if they avoid injury, Jake Cooper-Woolley and Marty Moore can be two of the best tight heads in the Premiership.
Tom Cruse has a great opportunity to enjoy a run in the team, and after some time off in the summer Willie le Roux could be the…