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Bath star says Wasps are best Premiership side

BATH legend Stuart Barnes reckons Wasps are the best team in Britain, despite his former side being on top of the Premiership table.

The Bolton News: Stuart Barnes Stuart Barnes

The England international, who won the league six times and cup five times with his westcountry club, has also tipped Wasps for the European title.

He said: "I'm enjoying watching Wasps at the moment. Bath are having a tremendous season but Wasps are the best team in England and I don't think the Bath coach John Connolly would disagree.

"They have plenty of control up front and have pace and precision behind.

"They're my favourites to be champions and they've been my favourites to be champions of England since the start of the season.

"Last season, Wasps beat Stade Francais in Europe and Stade went on to beat Toulouse the Heineken Cup winners in the French championship so you could argue that Wasps were the best team in Europe last season."

And Barnes, who now works as an analyst for Sky Sports, is eager to see Bath take on Wasps at Twickenham in the Championship decider, despite the controversy over the play-off system.

He said: "I personally think it will be between Bath and Wasps.

"The teams that walk out at Twickenham will be the two teams contesting the championship. All the teams know the rules. The media didn't accept it but that wasn't Wasps fault.

And Barnes reckons the key to Wasps' excellence this season has been the confidence they gained from winning the Zurich Premiership and Parker Pen Challenge Cup last season.

He said: "They're playing with more confidence. You can see it there, where they're not playing that well but they know they're going to win.

"Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards have just made a few signings but they've been shrewd signings.

"Peter Richards has come in and played well and he's made Rob Howley play his best and that's superb.

"Jonny O'Connor has come in and Paul Volley's having to play twice as well just to stay in the team.

"Wasps were always a good team on their day when I used to play but they're now have a chance to become the next Bath or Leicester."

Wasps take on Celtic Warriors on Sunday in front of the Sky cameras but Barnes reckons all the action will be at one end.

He said: "There's no chance of a shock. Celtic Warriors are an attractive side, with good creative backs like Ceri Sweeney and Gareth Thomas.

"But when I watched them play Perpigan, Perpignan smashed them up front.

"I would be very surprised if Wasps didn't win and get a bonus point."



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