Is Dai Young the right man to lead Wasps?

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Dai Young

Photo: Richard Lane/Richard Lane Photography. Wasps Pre Season Training. 04/08//2015. Wasps’ Dai Young, Director of Rugby.

So here’s the thing.

Our Director of Rugby David “Dai” Young recently admitted to the Coventry Telegraph that he was in a “dark, lonely place”. I’d like to take a moment to express exactly how I feel about Dai Young at this moment.

I am truly, and deeply proud to have him at the helm of the club I love.

Obviously there is more to it than that, and I will explain, but I don’t want there to be any doubt in your mind as you start to read this.

We Owe Him

I’ve spoken about this many times, and so have many other people.  But during the club’s darkest days, when we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and we didn’t know how it was going to play out Dai stuck by the club.

He’d come on board not knowing how bad the situation was, and no-one would have blamed him for walking away but he didn’t. He dug deep, he paid for supplies out of his own pocket and he helped save Wasps from going under.  Clearly he didn’t do this by himself, but I honestly believe that we would not be here today if it was not for Dai.

He Genuinely Cares

He has a developed a reputation for hiding his emotions.  Whatever is going on on the field it is a rare day when he cracks a smile, or indeed shows any visible emotion. But I think it is safe to say that that is not the man he is.  It is simply the persona he takes on when sitting in the public eye as the leader of the club.

He has made it clear on many occasions that it is not about him.  That he is not the story.  And his approach effectively gives the press nothing to latch on to.  There are DORs who take vastly different approaches, and that is entirely their right.  But the recent rumours and negative press about the club show very clearly that he is doing the right thing.

But, and this is the bit that actually matters.  This doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Just go read the article about how he felt watching Dan Robson not be brought off the bench in the England Ireland game last week.

He Has Real Vision

For years now Wasps have been playing a different game from everyone else.  Some have laid this at the door of Danny Cipriani, but anyone with eyes to see knows that this is not the case.

Whether it was us struggling at Adams Park with Stephen Jones at the helm, the stunning win against Toulon led by Ruaridh Jackson not long after moving into the Ricoh, or the glory days of 2017 when we finished 1st in the league the way the club has attempted to play has been the same.

How on earth a former world class prop can take a team and develop such a free flowing, running game is beyond me, but it is clear that that is his goal and  when it works well Wasps are the envy of every team in the world.

He Has Integrity

When the salary cap debacle exploded a few years ago there was one team that lead the way in being honest, accountable, and outraged at the idea that other clubs may have been cheating the cap. He was the man who stood up and made it clear that Wasps deeply opposed the alleged financial transgressions, and that we had no part in them.  Once he’d stuck his head above the parapet other DORs followed his lead.  But it was Dai who had the integrity to make his feelings clear.

Unlike many coaches in the public eye when Dai says something, you know he isn’t simply spinning a line to get the press off his back, or to create media interest for the sake of it.

It isn’t just with regards to the big rules, and the alleged cheating where his integrity shows.  He also refuses to pass the buck, even when he would be perfectly entitled to.  He recently said:

“It’s my job to support them, but it’s a pretty lonely place for me.”

His metaphorical shoulders are clearly as broad as his actual shoulders.

We’ve Got Your Back Dai

It is not exaggeration to say that Wasps have the names of some genuine rugby legends among their DORs  Melville, Gatland, McGeechan to name but a few.  And I for one would not swap Dai Young for any of them.

If you read this Dai, then please remember that despite the verbose tirades of a few outliers, pretty much all the fans of Wasps are proud you are our leader. You’re doing a great job, and we’ve got your back!

What do you think?  Are you on Dai’s team?  Come and tell us in our forums.

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4 thoughts on “Is Dai Young the right man to lead Wasps?

  1. I think this article echoes how a lot of us are probably feeling. Ideally i’d Not swap him for another DOR m, with the exception perhaps of Baxter, for his honesty, realism and endeavour. What’s not clear is has he lost the changing room, rightly or wrongly, fairly or not? And can he bring it back. I have huge sympathy with his comments about the loneliness of management but I wonder if this is partly down to his style of leadership and willingness to take so much on his shoulders. Do other DORs feel the same during challenging times or have they built a tight core of coaching staff and leaders amongst the players such that the journey isn’t so solitary. I’m pleased to see the other coaches taking some of the interviews recently but is that Dai taking a break from the cameras or because there is a united front.

    I dearly want this ship to turn around with Dai at the helm, and he deserves time to make that happen, but we need to see tangible signs of change, of progress. Relegation is not completely beyond the realms of possibility this year, certainly not next year and with ringgencing being discussed in the near future i’d Choose unfair treatment of Dai over watching the Club drop off the cliff – if we get to that point.

    • I get what you’re saying, but I tend not to assume that things aren;t happening because we aren’t seeing them. Short of the Daly situation, I can’t think of pretty much anything that might suggest he has lost the dressing room. The players, the other coaches, and all the pundits that comment seem to suggest that he is doing a great job. Obviously the results aren’t what we want, but I think there’s a lot more to that than “Dai failing”.

  2. I think Dai is the right man for the job. I also think that we need to get someone in to run along side Dai to take over when the big man has had enough. That person needs to be Joe Worsley, club legend, successful defence coach and knows what Wasps are all about.
    Dai must stay till his had enough though, still got plenty in him.
    The only way is up now and in Dai we trust.

    • I agree we need to consider succession planning, but I suspect that Derek and the board have probably already started that. I too would like to see Joe back, but I don’t know enough about his current situation to say it definitely should be him.

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