Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his squad to take on Gloucester Rugby at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, in Round 16 of the Aviva Premiership.
Please note the earlier kick-off time of 1pm, to allow supporters to watch Ireland v England live on big screens in the Fan Village inside the Jaguar Exhibition Hall, after Wasps’ game against Gloucester.
Joe Simpson has recovered from the shoulder-knock he picked up in Friday night’s draw against Newcastle, to start at nine, with Wasps new signing Piri Weepu providing back up in the absence of the injured Charlie Davies and Jack Moates.
Tom Varndell starts on the left wing, with Tagicakibau providing cover on the bench for wing and centre.
A new second row partnership sees James Cannon line up alongside James Gaskell, while the front row and back row remain unchanged from Friday’s game.
The 100,000th supporter is set to walk through the turnstiles at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, for Wasps’ sixth game since arriving in Coventry (21st December 2014).
Director of Rugby Dai Young said: "The support we have received from the Coventry and Warwickshire community, alongside our long-standing Wasps fans, has been magnificent and it makes such a difference to the squad running out to such a vocal crowd.
"We’ll need that kind of backing again this Sunday as it’s going to be another tough challenge against a very good Gloucester side, who will certainly want to come to the Ricoh to put the record straight after we got the win at Kingsholm in December. Since we played Gloucester, they have turned a corner and have put together some really good performances and decent wins, so it will be an immense battle on Sunday."
Wasps are unbeaten at home in the Aviva Premiership this season, including three bonus- point wins in their three Premiership games since arriving at the Ricoh. For Young, the focus is on extending that run:
"We’ve produced some really good performances and some decent wins at the Ricoh over the past couple of months, but that counts for nothing if we don’t back it up this weekend. We want to make the Ricoh Arena a fortress. We identified this period as a key stage of the season and so far we’re unbeaten in this important block of games, so we need to continue building momentum.
"We were disappointed with our result and performance in Newcastle last Friday, when we came away with two points for the draw, rather than four points for the win we wanted. Credit to Newcastle as they played well, but we were also poor in most aspects of our game.
"The two points dropped put even greater emphasis on this game as one we have to win, in order to keep moving forward and to be within reach of our targeted top six finish this season for European qualification. The league is so tight, you’ve got to win your home games, especially against teams who are around you in the table or below you.
"Any team in this league can beat any other team, that’s why it’s such an interesting competition to be part of. If you turn up on any day, home or away, and you’re even 10% off your game, you won’t win, so we need to be on our mettle this weekend."
Tickets for Wasps’ match at the Ricoh Arena against Gloucester on Sunday, March 1, KO 1pm, can be purchased at the Ricoh Arena, online by visiting the Wasps website or by calling the Wasps ticket line on 0844 847 1867 or via the Ticketmaster website.
Wasps V Gloucester
15. Rob Miller
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. James Downey
11. Tom Varndell
10. Andy Goode
9. Joe Simpson
1. Matt Mullan ©
2. Carlo Festuccia
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. James Cannon
5. James Gaskell
6. Ashley Johnson
7. Thomas Young
8. Nathan Hughes
16. Edd Shervington
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Phil Swainston
19. Kearnan Myall
20. Guy Thompson
21. Piri Weepu
22. Alex Lozowski
23. Sailosi Tagicakibau
Unavailable for selection:
Josh Basset – ankle, Chris Bell – shoulder, Charlie Davies – calf, Will Helu – hamstring, Ed Jackson – ill, Ruaridh Jackson – ACL, Ben Jacobs – shoulder, Sam Jones – concussion, Joe Launchbury – neck, Alapati Leiua – knee,
Andrea Masi – deep cut to calf, Jack Moates – hamstring.
Lorenzo Cittadini – Italy camp, Bradley Davies – Wales camp, James Haskell – England camp