Dai Young is hoping to catch “frightening” Leinster cold as Wasps prepare to launch their Heineken Champions Cup campaign against the reigning champions.
Leinster lifted the trophy for a record-equalling fourth time last season when they defeated Racing 92 15-12 in Bilbao.
The Irish province’s defence of their title will get under way at Dublin’s RDS Arena on Friday evening and Wasps director of rugby Young is expecting the toughest of evenings in the Pool One clash.
Asked if Leo Cullen’s side look any more vulnerable this time around, he replied: “No, they don’t, to be honest with you.
“They’re a pretty formidable team – and not only a formidable team, a formidable squad. They have got some frightening strength in depth and some really exciting youngsters as well, and they’ve obviously got big-match experience with all the internationals they’ve got.
“They are obviously a frightening team, but hopefully we can catch them cold. We have got confidence in how we play the game.
“We’re respectful enough to know that we are going to have to be at our best, without a shadow of a doubt, and we’re not playing at our best at the minute, so there’s lots of improvement in the game.
“But certainly, we can’t help but witness the excitement about the place. When you’re in Heineken Cup week, the intensity and everything in training – and everybody is focused – does step up a level, so hopefully our game will step up to meet it.”
Wasps will head for Ireland sitting in third place in the Gallagher Premiership table after a mixed start to the season which has brought thrilling single-point victories over both Worcester and Newcastle, but also home defeats by Exeter and Gloucester.
Young knows the challenge will step up another level this weekend, but is confident that the fear of what could happen if his team does not perform will spur the players on to greater heights.
He said: “Certainly there will be a fear factor. There will be a fear factor, which is always a good factor – fear factor as in if we don’t play to our best ability, it could be a long day for us, which will really, I think, push us to a big performance.
“It’s a really tough game, we know that, but you work hard to get into this competition, so that’s what you want to be a part of. We’ll certainly know by the end of that game where we are, that’s for sure.”