Wasps fans have highlighted what a heroic job Dai Young done with the club after it was revealed on Tuesday that the director of rugby is stepping back from first-team duties for an interim period.
The ex-Wales international has been replaced by Lee Blackett during this period, which starts with a Gallagher Premiership trip to nearby rivals Leicester next Saturday.
There has been no suggestion that his contract with Wasps – which doesn’t expire until 2023 – has been terminated, but fans have nonetheless recognised what he has achieved since arriving in 2011.
Despite being one of England’s most successful clubs, Wasps were in a terrible position when Young arrived as director of rugby. The club were in financial trouble and faced ongoing problems with Adams Park, home of football’s Wycombe Wanderers, with whom Wasps shared a ground at the time.
A spate of high profile departures over the seasons prior to Young’s arrival meant he was inheriting a shell of the side that lifted the Heineken Cup twice the previous decade and were last crowned Premiership champions in 2008.
(Continue reading below…)
England’s Eddie Jones against Six Nations expansion
These names included Lawrence Dallaglio, Phil Vickery, Josh Lewsey and Simon Shaw, as well as younger players like James Haskell and Danny Cipriani. To make matters worse, Dan Ward-Smith, Joe Worsley and Tom Rees all retired during Young’s first season in charge.
In light of the troubles Wasps were facing, the former British and Irish Lion was able to keep them in the Premiership, finishing eleventh that season, only one point above Newcastle Falcons.
If Dai has gone hope he gets the goodbye and thanks that he deserves. Hasn’t won anything but is a wasps legend for what he gave to the club in his early years
— Curtis Hunter (@curtisjhunter) February 11, 2020
Timing seems off being 4 days before a huge game against tigers after a long break from domestic rugby!!!
Either way if Dai is stepping away he should be remembered as Wasps legend and for everything he has done for the club over the years in some very tough times
— Raj Samra (@Rajyybear) February 11, 2020
A move to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in 2014 brought brighter times and the arrival of a number of stars. Young took Wasps to three consecutive Premiership semi-finals, topping the table in 2017 and narrowly losing to Exeter Chiefs in the final in extra-time. The season before, they had reached the semi-final of the Champions Cup.
Although Wasps are currently enduring a troublesome campaign, sitting in ninth in the Gallagher Premiership and failing to make it out of their Challenge Cup pool, their situation is not too dissimilar to the one that Young was in when he arrived.
The unluckiest head coach DOR in Prem history? Toiled at the beginning with an under resourced budget and kept the club up and viable. Then the period of a gslactico squad coincided with Saracens cheating and a narrow loss in the final to Chiefs. Last 2 years, club skint again.
— Jonathan Williams (@JPWilliams26) February 11, 2020
Odd timing for him to be relieved of duties…?
more to this than meets the eye?
— Sarah Turner (@spanishwhite) February 11, 2020
The club have seen another raft of players depart over the past couple of years such as Willie le Roux, Kurtley Beale, Nathan Hughes and Cipriani after his second stint.
Given the tumultuous time Wasps have had over the past decade, many fans appreciate what a job the 52-year-old did helping one of England’s great sides rise from the ashes.
Dai Young has been nothing less than an absolute mensch for Wasps, a stoic steward guiding a legendary club through some grim times. Lots of reasons for the current downturn, but it is probably time for a change, and if it is the end then he bows out a hero. https://t.co/3S6AsWx4KG
— Iain Alexander (@iaingalexander) February 11, 2020
Yeah seems strange… but 100% Dai gets upmost respect for everything he’s done & I’d always be sad to see him go
— Nathan (@nath_ob) February 11, 2020
It may not have been a spell laden with trophies – none in fact – but it was a job that very few coaches would want to find themselves in, let alone arrive in, and that is why Young has been commended.
With Wasps guaranteed safety in England’s top flight following Saracens’ automatic relegation, this is a perfect time to look to the future and Young’s position has been questioned throughout this season. But if he is to go, there is no doubt that his time with Wasps will be looked at fondly.
WATCH: The RPA warns of a mass player revolt over Seven Nations plot
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now