Dai Young wants big players to make play-off against Leicester count

Wasps boss Dai Young wants top stars like Kurtley Beale, pictured, in prime form for Saturday's Premiership semi-final against Leicester
Wasps boss Dai Young wants top stars like Kurtley Beale, pictured, in prime form for Saturday's Premiership semi-final against Leicester

Wasps boss Dai Young insists that his team needs to be firing on all cylinders when they take on Leicester Tigers in a home Aviva Premiership semi-final at Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

Having registered 17 victories from 22 games, Wasps went on to claim the pole position in the table and will be hoping to win their first Premiership title since they last won in 2008.

The encounter is also set to witness record audience for a semi-final clash as over 28,000 tickets already sold and Young believes the form of his big guns which includes the likes of Kurtley Beale, Willie Le Roux, Jimmy Gopperth, Danny Cipriani will be decisive.

"We could win a lot of games without our really big players I believe," said Young.

"But when you get to semi-finals, quarter-finals, playing against the real top teams, that's when you need your best players to stand up.

"And that's why you bring marquee players in really, not just to get you to a top six finish, but hopefully also to make the difference between winning and losing in the real big games.

"That little bit of quality that can make the difference."

Wallaby international Beale, who was among the record breaking signing for Wasps will head back to his country this summer in a bid to continue his international career.

Wasps have already signed le Roux to make up for the absence of Beale and Young is excited by the prospect of both featuring in this season's play-offs.

"We've all got good players, but I think Kurtley has shown what a world-class international rugby player is all about," said Young.

"That goes through the squad, and shows everyone else what the levels really are that you have to attain.

"He's done great stuff for us. It was very difficult when he came on board as a marquee signing and he was injured for six months.

"But I think he's shown with his work to get over that knee injury, that was excellent.

"And being on the pitch, these big games, that's when you need your big players to play.

"We had a feeling Kurtley would go (after one year), so that's why we signed Willie pretty much.

"And his versatility has been important to us, just like Jimmy Gopperth's versatility has been important to us.

"Rob Miller's a very good full-back as well, so we're comfortable in that position.

"But Willie's slotting into that back three for next year to fill the void left by Kurtley.

"They've got a great understanding of when to run, when not to run, they've got great feet to beat people so I think they've really enjoyed playing together.

"Hopefully we've got two games left and they can produce again for us.

"Elliot Daly's gone away to England and come back a much better player.

"He was always one of the best backs here, but he's gone there, been among other top-quality backs and realised what he still needs to work on.

"It keeps on pushing the standards, George Smith did that, Charles Piutau did that, and Kurtley and Willie have done that.

"That's what they bring, they bring that quality to show that no matter how good you are, you've still got to work at it, still got to bring that quality of preparation, and basically know you can still get better."

Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Points Table