Saracens are becoming increasingly impossible to compete with, according to Wasps boss Dai Young.
Sarries won their third European title on Saturday, beating Leinster 20-10 in Newcastle, and could seal a second double in three years on June 1 by winning the Premiership title.
And next year they will be adding Wasps star Elliot Daly to a squad already heaving with Test players, on around £500,000-a-year – a significant increase on his current deal.
Daly plays his last game for his boyhood club against Harlequins this year, and his director of rugby Young thinks the 26-year-old’s impending move to London shows how difficult it is for Saracens’ competitors to keep up.
‘They have five or six Lions in their pack, have won the European Cup and signed another Lion who’s one of my best players,’ said the Welshman.
‘So it’s very difficult to compete against. I don’t know what you can do about that.
‘You have to give them credit – there are a lot of things chucked at them, and it’s understandable why people make assumptions – but they spend the most on their academy, the most on their coaches, the most off the field, and most on the field.
‘There is no surprise they are doing what they are doing. We have all seen it in all sports, just because you are spending big doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful.
‘They are doing a lot of things right and should be congratulated. Everything they do is invested to achieve what they want to achieve.
‘You look at their role-models, Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell, they really drive that club. I have got nothing but admiration for everything they have done. Their performance on the weekend was fantastic.’
Wasps could miss out on a Champions Cup place this weekend if they lose to Quins at the Ricoh Arena.
And while Young admits it has been a season of transition he was stunned that Daly wanted to leave.
But he hopes the Wasps fans give the England man a big send-off on Saturday, as the back has played for the club since arriving from Whitgift School as a teenager.
‘When you talk about people leaving – and I have mentioned that it has been a two-year transition – I envisaged a lot of the others but he is one that was a surprise,’ said Young.
‘Christian Wade (who moved to the NFL) was a surprise too. Those are two guys I didn’t expect would be leaving.
‘Elliot Daly, although he took a bit of criticism from the Wasps supporters for going to Sarries, I am disappointed but he stuck with us through thick and thin through some pretty bad times and showed some huge loyalty to the club.
‘I have only got good things to say about him – of course I am disappointed he’s leaving but we need to recognise what he has done for the club rather than looking at it from another point of view.
‘He’s 26 years old and wants to go somewhere where he believes will give him that new challenge, and that’s his call.
‘Obviously I am sad to see him go but I want him to be recognised for what he has done for the club, not negatively because he’s leaving. He has helped us along this pathway and got us to a point where we were 90-seconds from winning the Premiership.
‘Since then we have had a little bit of a falling away and are at a point now where we need to press that reset button, develop new leaders and bring players in from the academy as well.
‘We have to build that squad as we did before.’
Young is also growing frustrated at the lack of movement on recruitment for next season. He has signed All Blacks Malakai Fekitoa and Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen as well as young Gloucester scrum-half Ben Vellacott, but expects no new big-name signings.
With the likes of Nathan Hughes (Bristol), Joe Simpson (Gloucester), Jake Cooper-Woolley (Sale) and Daly all leaving, Wasps will be spending significantly less on their squad in 2019-20.
And Young’s quest to find a new assistant coach has stalled too. He offered defence supremo Shaun Edwards, who is leaving Wales for France after the World Cup, a contract but it was turned down.
‘There’s not been a designated budget for coaches put aside,’ said Young.
‘Basically I needed authority to offer coaches contracts, I was given that authority with Shaun (Edwards) that I could offer him a contract.
‘That went on for a number of weeks before Shaun told us that wasn’t happening. I’ve been given authority to put a contract to another coach that was available, but that was unfortunately turned down on Friday.
‘I am in a position now where the club needs to tell me what their next move is. There is no designated budget put in place where we can go out and sign coaches – I need that authority to offer coaches contracts.
‘I had the authority to offer two coaches contracts, which I have done, unfortunately they have not come to fruition so I have to wait to see what the next move is and the club have to guide me on what they are prepared to do.’