Thomas Young not quitting Wasps for Wales bid

In-form openside Thomas Young says he is at Wasps for the long haul and will not be swayed by Gatland’s Law in a bid to boost his chances of an international call-up by Wales.

Young, 24, who learned at the shoulder of Aussie legend George Smith last season before making the No.7 shirt his own this year in the absence of injured pair James Haskell and Sam Jones, has been touted for Test honours on the back of outstanding form.

Welsh selection policy favours players featuring for the regions, but former Cardiff Blues man Young is contracted to Wasps beyond this season and has no desire to leave a side whose charge for domestic and European honours is gathering pace.

And he has warned the returning James Haskell he will not have it all his own way when it comes to openside selection.

Young, behind Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric in the Wales pecking order, told The Rugby Paper: “Everyone wants to play international rugby but I’ve had no conversations with anybody involved with Wales, so it’s about oncentrating on improving my game here.

“I’m happy at Wasps, this is where I want to be and all I’m thinking about is staying and, hopefully, helping us get better as a team. There’s a massive buzz around the club at the minute and as a playing squad we know there’s a lot more to come.

“I just want to keep cementing my place in our starting XV. Hask’s not far away now and he’ll be putting pressure on, but I want to keep that jersey and make selection as hard as possible.” At 1.78 metres (5ft 10ins) and 102kgs (16st), unsung hero Young is small by modern openside standards, but that has proved no barrier after a productive year under Smith.

Young, the son of Wasps director of rugby Dai Young, below, explained: “I’ve been lucky to get a good run of games with Hask and Sam Jones being out injured, but I learnt a lot last year and have just tried to carry that on.

“George was good to be alongside on and off the field because I picked up certain aspects of how he played and acted and looked in greater depth at the way I played.

“He helped me read situations better – when and when not to go for the ball, or how to take advantage of opportunities that crop up – and it was also about getting the ball into your hands as much as you could to be more of a threat as a link in attack.

“I’ve learnt when to carry and when to pass it on to one of the bigger boys to let them have a crack, while Haskell has also been very good. He’s different to George but I’ve learnt off the way he plays defensively and how disruptive he is at the breakdown.”

Young added: “I’ve put on a little bit of weight, maybe a couple kilos, but I’d say the traditional No.7 has come back in a bit more now and that’s given me an opportunity to get my hands on the ball as much as I can. It seems to be working for us in attack.”

With 44 tries in their first 11 games, Wasps are way out in front as the league’s leading scorers – a statistic that augurs well for their top-flight title ambitions.

Young said: “We’ve got individuals in our backline who can create something from nothing – Christian Wade showed that with his hat-trick against Bath – while other guys like Elliot Daly and Kurtley Beale help make us a huge threat.

“And it’s up to us forward pack to lay the foundations.”


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