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'He says he wants to play centre and I'm not sure whether he's joking or not'

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Wasps director of rugby Lee Blackett has hailed the impact of youngsters such as Alfie Barbeary after his decision to rest a host of internationals paid off with a 33-14 Heineken Champions Cup victory over Montpellier at the Ricoh Arena on Friday night. 

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The hosts left Dan Robson, Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis and Will Rowlands out of their side and were helped by the seventh-minute dismissal of Montpellier full-back Henry Immelman for a high tackle on scrum-half Will Porter.

Outstanding No8 Barbeary – normally a hooker – scored two of Wasps’ five tries, with James Gaskell, Paolo Odogwu and Charlie Atkinson getting one apiece, with Jimmy Gopperth adding three conversions and Atkinson one.

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Wasps clearly have a huge talent in the highly promising Barbeary and Blackett said: “It was great to see Alfie and the half-backs, Charlie Atkinson and Will Porter, doing so well as they are youngsters playing in key positions.

“Alfie was always able to be the boss in junior rugby, but he is now proving he is a good talent. There has been a huge change in his training mentality in the last four months and he is a very confident young man who believes in himself. He says he wants to play centre and I’m not sure whether he’s joking or not.

“We wanted to get our European campaign off to a winning start last week (at Dragons) so we played our leading players and it was a difficult decision to rest them this week, but it worked out well,” continued Blackett. 

“With such a short nature of the competition this season, the most pleasing thing about the last two weeks are the results, especially with two bonus-point wins. We have been off the pace since the restart, but we are improving all the time as the speed around the park was better. They [Montpellier] are a top-quality side and the early red card seemed to inspire them.”

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