Lawrence Dallaglio has Wasps fired up to bring the glory days back to his beloved club.
Dallaglio’s old team are 80 minutes from the Premiership final after transforming their season since lockdown with eight wins out of nine.
They face Bristol at home today with a real opportunity to end 12 years without silverware since Dallaglio’s team won four premierships and two European Cups in six seasons.
“It’s important for every club to be proud of its heritage,” said the World Cup winner. “And for the players to recognise they’ve got an opportunity to build on it and be part of that legacy.
“Wasps is not a place like a lot of other clubs. It’s not Leicester, it’s not Newcastle, Bath or Bristol. We’ve been nomadic for a long time.
“We’ve had lots of different training grounds, lots of different stadiums. We’ve now got firm roots established and for the first time in a long time a place that we can call home.
“But Wasps has always been about the people. And always will be. Wasps is a place that’s in your head and in your heart.”
Dallaglio reminded the players of that when invited into camp to give a motivational talk not long after Lee Blackett took charge with them languishing three from bottom in February.
Blackett admits some of his stars are so young that they “don’t even really know who Jonny Wilkinson is – they think he’s a commentator!”
But Dallaglio’s rallying cry resonated, with prop Kieran Brookes admitting: “Lawrence definitely motivated the lads. What he said about what it takes to win silverware, and how hard you have to work, hit home.”
The team's response has stunned even Dallaglio who admitted that “if you’d said to me when we were 10th that we’d finish three points behind Exeter at the top I’d have said you were ready for the nut house.
“Twelve wins out of 14 since Lee took over, 10 try bonus points, averaging over 30 points a game, is really quite something.”
But now for the acid test. Bristol, in their first Premiership semi-final for 13 years, are a formidable proposition even without the injured Charles Piutau.
The midfield clash between Semi Radradra and Malakai Fekitoa, Wasps’ bone-crunching All Black, would be worth the admission money alone, if any fans were allowed in.
“Semi has taken the league by storm and I’m glad I don’t have to tackle him,” said Blackett. “But with the firepower Bristol possess we can’t afford to make it about one guy.”
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