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Premiership preview: Wasps

This summer’s big spenders will be looking for a return on their investment in trophies.

With All Black fly-half Lima Sopoaga and blindside Brad Shields arriving at the Ricoh alongside former Red Rose Test tight-head Kieran Brookes, the heat is on for Wasps to discard their ‘nearly men’ reputation.

The biggest impediment  so far has been a front five with fault-lines which have widened into huge cracks during high-pressure  semi-finals and finals.

If Brookes and Jake Cooper-Woolley can make the right-hand side of the Wasps scrum rock solid   they could have the launchpad to the success that so far has eluded them during Dai Young’s tenure.

Although Danny Cipriani has taken his wrists of ‘pure gold’ to Gloucester, Sopoaga has the class  to get on the same wavelength as match-winners like Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Willie Le Roux.

This Wasps generation has to unearth an implacable desire to be first, and long service men like Joe Launchbury and Thomas Young must hammer home that message.

No one can match Wasps for  flair, but when it comes to conviction they come up short. That must change.


Player to watch: Brad Shields

The England-qualified Kiwi blindside did not have ideal conditions in which to make his Test debut in South Africa, and now he has to put his marker down for his new club in a big way. If not, Wasps fans are going to ask why Haskell and Thompson moved on.

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