London Wasps preview 2012/13

Wasps eye a return to the glory days

Last Updated: 27/08/12 11:02am

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Wasps will not look back on the 2011/12 season with any fondness, with the former European giants just avoiding the drop.

Injuries - with a staggering amount of experienced players having to retire - played a massive part in the club's struggles on the field, while the financial issues off it did little to ease the situation.

However with a takeover close to completion and raft of players arriving in the summer, there is a renewed belief that the club is on the road to recovery.

Boss Dai Young has added Shane Howarth, the former Wales full-back, to his backroom staff to give the side a fresh outlook, while Dan Howells heads up a new-look strength and conditioning team.

James Haskell and Tom Palmer will return to Adams Park after their spells away, while Young has brought in fellow countryman Stephen Jones, T Rhys Thomas, Will Taylor and Lee Thomas.

Italy international Andrea Masi, South African Ashley Johnson and Phil Swainston have also arrived, while Tommy Bell joins from Sale after an impressive season on loan at Leeds.

They will join up a wealth of exciting young talent already at club - with Christian Wade, Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly, Sam Jones and Billy Vunipola looking to play key roles.

Rob Webber and Dom Waldouck are among the key departures, though, with Riki Flutey, Ross Filipo and Ben Broster also moving on to pastures new.

London Wasps stats

Director of rugby: Dai Young
Captain: Hugo Southwell
Sky Bet odds: 50/1
Last season: 11th
In: T Rhys Thomas (Cardiff Blues), Phil Swainston (Leeds), Will Taylor (Ospreys), Tom Palmer (Stade Français), Ashley Johnson (Cheetahs), James Haskell (Highlanders), Tommy Bell (Sale), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Lee Thomas (Lyon), James Bailey (Lyon), Andrea Masi (Aironi), Fabio Staibano (Aironi)
Out: Rob Webber (Bath), Vladislav Korshunov (VVA-Podmoskovye), Ben Broster (Biarritz), Jeremy Castex (Perpignan), Heinz Koll (released), Ed O'Donoghue (released), Victor Gresev (Krasny Yar), Alex Cheeseman (Cornish Pirates), Riki Flutey (Ricoh Black Rams), Tom Prydie (Dragons), Lee Robinson (L'Aquila), Richard Haughton (Jersey), Ross Filipo (Wellington), Dom Waldouck (Northampton)
Key man - Stephen Jones: The British and Irish Lions fly-half might be in the twilight of his career but his deadly accuracy with the boot vital for the club's hopes.
Prediction: 9th

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