TOP BAR - Fixtures

Wasps team to play Northampton Saints

Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his side to take on Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership at Franklins Gardens on Friday night, kick off 19:45.

Alex Rieder is in line for his competitive Wasps debut, as he is named at six in the absence of the injured Sam Jones and James Haskell, who is retained by England ahead of the start of the RBS 6 Nations.

In the absence of Haskell and Matt Mullan, George Smith captains the side.

Wasps are boosted by the return to fitness of Jake Cooper-Woolley and Nathan Hughes, who both made appearances from the bench in last weekend’s win over Leinster, and are named to start this Friday night.

Elsewhere, Rob Miller starts at fullback in the absence of the injured Charles Piutau, James Downey gets the nod at inside centre with Brendan Macken moving to 13, Dan Robson starts at scrum half after impressing from the bench last weekend following the injury to Joe Simpson and James Gaskell and Kearnan Myall link up in the second row.

Ahead of the game, Dai Young said "We were all really pleased last weekend, not only with the result, but with the performance, which saw us secure a European home quarter final, but now we return to the Aviva Premiership knowing that we have to bring that form into the domestic competition.

"There are no easy games in this league, but a Friday night at Franklin’s Gardens is right up there with the hardest. We haven’t won there as a club since 2005 and we know exactly how tough a challenge it will be.

"Despite being released by their national sides mid-week, it was difficult for us to include Matt Mullan, Elliot Daly, Bradley Davies and Lorenzo Cittadini, having already completed all our preparation for Friday night’s game. It provides an exciting opportunity for the rest of the squad to step up, after waiting patiently for game time, and I am looking forward to them taking their chance.

"The game will test our depth and our ability to perform at the top level consistently, but it’s a challenge we are all looking forward to. If we’re not on the money, Saints have the ability to punish us, and we’ve experienced that before at their hands, so we have to be fully focused on the task in hand and be at our best."

Wasps team to play Northampton Saints

15. Rob Miller
14. Frank Halai
13. Brendan Macken
12. James Downey
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Dan Robson

1. Simon McIntyre
2. Edd Shervington
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. James Gaskell
5. Kearnan Myall
6. Alex Rieder
7. George Smith (c)
8. Nathan Hughes

Replacements
16. Ashley Johnson
17. Tom Bristow
18. Phil Swainston
19. James Cannon
20. Thomas Young
21. Jamie Stevenson
22. Ruaridh Jackson
23. Sailosi Tagicakibau

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