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The Wasps selection dilemma after 'right decision' to omit Fekitoa

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

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Wasps boss Lee Blackett has admitted he has given himself a selection headache for this Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final at Lyon following last weekend’s decision to omit ex-All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa for family reasons.


With his career at the English club nearing the end as he is set to switch to Munster in Ireland for the 2022/23 season, Fekitoa was anxious to take on Edinburgh in last Saturday’s quarter-final following an injury-hit season that has restricted him to just nine appearances across all four competitions his club has played in.  

However, Wasps felt it best that he stayed at home to help care for his new-born daughter, a choice that allowed the unheralded Sam Spink to start in Scotland and his performance in the late-secured win has left now Blackett pondering if he should stick with the rookie 22-year-old for the game in France or recall the 2015 World Cup winner who last year became eligible to play at Test level for his native Tonga.  

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“His daughter was born six weeks early,” said Blackett, explaining the situation that led to Wasps leaving Fekitoa at home for last week’s quarter-final. “It’s a little bit easier if you are English and you have got family here to make that decision (to play). 

“But when you are over here (from abroad) and you are over here on your own, there was no other decision really to make. Family is the most important thing. As much as Mala wanted to play, it was the right decision for him and his family.” 


This enforced absence of Fekitoa, though, from the Wasps line-up allowed Spink to shine and it will be interesting to see which player Blackett now backs to start in Lyon when their semi-final XV is publicly named at noon on Friday. “I thought he [Spink] played really well. I have been really happy with him throughout the season, he put in a really good performance and he is making that decision at 13 a difficult one this week.


“Do you go with the experience of the guy that has been there and done it on the biggest stage, we’re talking about being in World Cups and winning World Cups, or do you go with a guy who has shown a lot of form and played really well and got us there? It will be a difficult decision.”   


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