Dai Young has stepped back from his position as Wasps Rugby director of rugby with immediate effect.
It was announced on Tuesday that the Welshman would take a backseat for an interim period whilst backs coach Lee Blackett would take over starting with Saturday’s game against Leicester Tigers as interim head coach.
Who will replace Dai Young?
Dai Young has been at the club since November 2011, taking over from interim coach at the time Leon Holden. He has led Wasps to a Premiership final as well as a European Champions Cup semi-final in his time at the club.
Yesterday's bizarre media session – what I experienced… https://t.co/hGN7mCj8P8
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Crucially, he also managed to avoid relegation in the 2011/12 season as they got the better of Newcastle Falcons who were demoted to the Championship.
The 52-year-old also oversaw Wasps’ move to the Ricoh Arena in December 2014 which has played a big part in the financial side of the club.
However, the Coventry-based side have struggled over the past few seasons, finishing 8th in 2018/19 and being involved in early season relegation talk this season before Saracens’ automatic relegation.
After being a great servant to the club over Young’s nine year tenure, the club are maybe looking to capitalise on Saracens’ situation by using the remainder of the season to perhaps rebuild for the future and look for someone new to take Wasps in a new direction.
However, it has been indicated that Dai Young will still have an involvement in the club as he has he has created much of the DNA of the modern Wasps side so may overlook proceedings if a new boss were to come in.
Potential contenders to replace Dai Young
A number of ex-Wasps players have been linked with the job so here is a shortlist of the high profile options and their odds:
Lee Blackett -7/1
The newly appointed interim boss will look to make an impact in his time in charge. He has the advantage of a strong relationship with the current crop at Wasps and will surely be a strong shout if the club look to recruit internally.
The former centre has been at the club since 2015 and has had experience as a head coach at Rotherham Titans after his playing career with Leeds Carnegie.
Wasps have seen an improvement in form recently with wins away to Worcester Warriors and Bristol Bears, so having been involved recently will allow him to continue the processes that the players are used to.
Rob Howley – 4/1
The former Wasps scrum-half went down in Wasps history after his opportunistic try to win Wasps the 2004 Heineken Cup vs Toulouse.
Howley is available due to being banned after breaking betting rules during Wales’ 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign.
Previously he had been Warren Gatland’s right hand man for Wales since the Kiwi was employed in late 2007 and accompanied him on two British and Irish Lions tours in 2009 and 2013.
The Welshman has coached at club level with Cardiff Blues and would provide Wasps with great experience as well as knowing what the club is about and the brand of rugby that they want to play.
Joe Worsley – 7/1
A one club man throughout his career, the former back row star would be a welcomed choice from many Wasps’ fans.
The former Lion and England international has gained a respectable coaching CV after he spent time coaching in France. He spent seven years at Bordeaux-Begles where he became head coach and has recently become Castres defence coach last autumn.
He also has had international experience after being a part of the Georgian World Cup coaching team along with Graham Rowntree.
Once again, he would be another that would have a greater understanding of the club and its values and could also bring a new angle to the club.
Lawrence Dallaglio – 5/1
One of the more audacious choices due to the fact the former club-captain has limited coaching experience at the top level.
Dallaglio has been on the Wasps’ board since 2015 and has worked with the club to get them to the place they are today.
Fans would welcome the legend into a managerial role and may consider it a risk worth taking with his past involvements in the club.
Three potential options that Wasps’ could look at have all been involved in high level club rugby with Leinster and offer international experience.
Firstly, Australian Michael Cheika is available after leaving the Wallabies set-up after a poor World Cup campaign that was ended at the quarter-final stage to England. He coached Leinster from 2005 to 2010 winning the 2009 Heineken Cup and won a Super Rugby title in 2014 with New South Wales Waratahs.
Another coach that has recently left their international post is Joe Schmidt with Ireland. He has three Six Nations titles to his name including a Grand Slam in 2018 as well as two Heineken Cups with Leinster.
The former World Rugby Coach of the Year is currently available and would offer more than enough experiance to Wasps. The only issue would come from accusations that he would micro-manage on match days for Ireland which lead to his demise as Ireland boss.
Finally, Stuart Lancaster has been a senior coach with Leinster since 2016 and has won a Champions Cup.
His reputation in England was tarnished after the 2015 World Cup campaign but many forget the work he did building and putting the foundations in place for Eddie Jones. He created a culture and image that had a positive effect on English Rugby but unravelled at RWC 2015.
His experience would be an asset but also would bring a rugby philosophy that could benefit Wasps.
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