Castres triumph sees Wasps bid farewell in style

 
Ross McLean
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Tom Varndell scored a try in each half as Wasps secured a bonus-point victory over Castres
WASPS boss Dai Young believes the presence of crucial continental clashes on the fixture list are pivotal to ushering in the club’s new era after ending their Adams Park tenancy with a 44-17 bonus-point thrashing of Castres in the European Champions Cup yesterday.

The Coventry-bound club, who will play their first match at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday against London Irish, held a commanding half-time lead courtesy of tries from Jake Cooper-Woolley, Nathan Hughes, Tom Varndell and Ben Jacobs.

Varndell, Jacobs and Guy Thompson all crossed the line in the second period to heap further misery on the Top 14’s basement side, as Wasps remained third in Pool Two but only a point adrift of leaders Harlequins, who lost 14-13 to second-placed Leinster in Dublin on Saturday.

Defining showdowns against the top two await but Young believes victory was a fitting farewell to a home which witnessed the club’s most successful period in history – eight trophies including four Premiership and two European titles.

“People want to watch big and meaningful games, so it’s important that stepping into our new chapter that we have these big occasions in January,” said Young.

“That was a great way to say thank you to Adams Park, which has been our home for 12 years now. It’s goodbye to Adams Park but hopefully it’s not goodbye to our supporters. We want to get as many of them to Coventry as possible.”

Lock Joe Launchbury, meanwhile, is a doubt for the start of England’s Six Nations campaign against Wales in February after Young revealed the 23-year-old’s rehabilitation following a recurring nerve problem in his neck is behind schedule.

“Fingers crossed it’s not too series and his rehab will pick up quickly,” added Young. “There are checkpoints and those aren’t being reached as quickly as we’d hoped for.

“We want him back and 100 per cent, whether that’s in two or three week’s time or two or three month’s time, who knows. Only time will tell.”

London Welsh’s interminable winless streak this season continued after succumbing to a 24-6 defeat to Pool Four leaders Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup at the Kassam Stadium yesterday.