Sep 22, 2013
Saracens v London Wasps
What a difference a year makes for London Wasps, with their fans this time last season undoubtedly fearing the worst.
At the end of the 2011/12 season this once great bastion of English rugby - having won four English titles and two Heineken Cups between 2003 and 2008 - were teetering close to the trapdoor.
In fact they were flirting with relegation just as much as Christian Wade was with defenders as they only survived relegation to the Championship on the final day of the season.
But while they started last campaign with a defeat, going down 42-40 to the then-defending champions Harlequins in the opening game of the season, they showed they were not the same easy target they had once been.
They might have thrown away a 40-13 lead in their opener too but the confidence they gained was there for all to see and by February they were in with a very good shout of securing a semi-final berth after recording back-to-back victories over Quins and Gloucester Rugby.
However the season's hard graft took its toll and Wasps endured a torrid end to their campaign, a seven-game losing streak not only seeing their chances of a final four spot go up in flames but also a return to Heineken Cup as they fell down to eighth.
But while the season ended in disappointment there were plenty of reason to celebrate as Wasps showed all the signs of rising from the ashes.