Wasps News: Elliot Daly brought back to earth after Test Lion wonderment | Rugby Union | Sport

5 months ago

Four games into his own campaign after a delayed start to get over the summer tour, he has yet to taste victory. And he has been quiet on the field as Wasps have struggled to bring one of their main strike weapons into the game.

High time then for Daly and Wasps to spark themselves into life as the perils of the Premiership give way to the excitement of Europe. Tonight they travel to Belfast and an opening date with Ulster, with Harlequins to follow at the Ricoh Arena next week.

“I probably haven’t got my hands on the ball as much as I’d have wanted to so far,” admitted Daly. “They have been those type of games where we have scored a couple of quick tries and then conceded a few and not had as much possession as we would have liked.

“I’m going to try to get my hands on the ball and link with some players in these next two games and make things happen.

“We need to get our attack going. In these next two games we have to try to score some good tries and put some good shapes together. To have a new competition is perfect for us and hopefully we can play well in these two games and take that into the Premiership.”

There are mitigating circumstances for Daly’s anonymity and Wasps’ impotence, namely an injury list which has shredded the squad.

Wasps were so stretched last week at Saracens that the versatile Daly, who plays centre for his club and wing for the Lions, was put on standby to fill in at stand-off – where he last played at school – if Rob Miller had picked up an injury.

“The only year I’ve known anything like it was probably the first year I was here. It was pretty similar. We didn’t have many at all then,” said the 25-year-old.

“We’ve definitely got a better squad now, at least. The 23 we’ll put out is definitely better than the 23 back then, I’d say.”

Tonight’s team sheet sees the return of Jimmy Gopperth, Nathan Hughes and Joe Launchbury in a more recognisable Wasps line-up.

“It has been good to have a couple of boys back this week in training who we haven’t had for the past couple of weeks,” said Daly.

For Wasps, who beat Ulster in a pre-season friendly at the Kingspan Stadium, the current run has come as a collective shock to the system after the success which has followed their move to Coventry.

“People at the Ricoh don’t know what it is like for us to be losing but it was always going to happen. It’s how we bounce back from it,” said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young. “It’s not part of the plan but it will only make us better in the long run.

“It’s probably a good time for us to come out of the Premiership and go into a new competition with the slate wiped clean.”

Tonight will offer Daly the chance to renew acquaintances with Lions team-mate Iain Henderson, who captains Ulster for the first time in the absence of Rory Best, and former Wasp Charles Piutau, who next season will become the highest-paid player in England when he moves to Bristol on a £900,000 salary.

Is the Kiwi full-back worth the money? Is any rugby player? Regardless, Wasps know he is public enemy No1 who they must stop if they are to end their losing streak.

“It would be nice if he was on our side,” said Daly. “He is someone you just pass the ball to and he does something special. He is a quality player who brings that ability to do something out of nothing – anything is on at any time.

“We have to look out for him. Hopefully we can shut him down.”