Wasps boss Lee Blackett has insisted that last year’s Gallagher Premiership finalists are primed to fight their way out of their poor recent run of form which has seen them lose six of their last seven matches – the last four in a row – and plunge to tenth on the table, eleven points outside the playoffs.
The East Midlands club head to Newcastle on Friday night having lost their way since the league in England resumed at the end of January following a two-week layoff due to the cancelled European pool matches.
Wasps have suffered since then, a narrow away Premiership win at bottom club Worcester the only interruption to a losing sequence where they have been picked off by Harlequins, Northampton, London Irish and Gloucester at The Ricoh as well as missing out on their travels at Leicester and leaders Bristol.
It is by far their worst period in the 13 months since Blackett took charge as head coach but he retains every belief that a remedy can be found, starting at Kingston Park against the eighth-place Falcons.
“The desire to get back and win, sometimes you have got to be really careful. When things aren’t going your way you can sometimes try and make things happen too much… but there is actually a little more confidence than you would think in the group,” said Blackett, reflecting on the mounting string of Ls in recent weeks.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 17, 2021
“They are obviously desperate to get a win but because the majority of the group have been here and seen it before and done it, it’s the younger guys who have come into this for the first time and had a really good last nine months, they are experiencing it for the first time.
“There is a good majority who are experienced guys and we know there is only one way to get out of it and that is to work hard, keep challenging ourselves, keep trying to improve and get yourself out of it. We know one performance (is all it takes) like we did last year when we faced Saracens at home, it just propelled your season and then you go from there.
“But one thing I would definitely say is we are well aware there is no point in sulking, there is no point in looking to blame anyone else or anything, we have got to work hard and put in a performance at the weekend that gets the result.”
Blackett is especially encouraged by not having it left for the coaches to come up with all the solutions as senior players – including the fit-again Joe Launchbury – are having an influential say on getting Wasps out of this Premiership rut. For example, as early as 7.15am last Tuesday they were in with the coaches helping to set the agenda for preparations against Newcastle.
“The first thing Tuesday morning, there was a senior players meeting with the coaches and we discussed what we thought of the weekend (the defeat at Bristol) and generally before I open up and give my opinions I want to know their opinions.
“Then we work through the messages together, what we feel are the messages. We will put ideas out there for messages and the six players who were there, they will give us feedback on whether that is the right message.
“We are as together as you are ever going to imagine, we always have been. There is a great feeling about the club at the moment. We win and lose together, we are all in this and we are going to fight our way out together.”
"It’s just one of those awkward questions"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 18, 2021
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