Dai Young has named his side to take on the defending champions, RC Toulon, at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, kick off 17:15, in round two of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
After recovering from injury, skipper James Haskell returns to the back-row, alongside George Smith and Nathan Hughes. Sam Jones, who produced a superb performance for Wasps last weekend, is ready to provide reinforcement from the bench.
Wasps’ starting line-up otherwise remains the same as the side that won in Dublin. The only other change comes on the bench, where Italian tight-head Lorenzo Cittadini returns following his one match suspension.
After a confidence-boosting away victory against Leinster, Wasps know they need to back up last weekend’s performance, at home, to make the first round win really count. The challenge becomes no easier, with the three-time European Champions en route to Coventry.
Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “It was a great performance by our squad last week, but we know we need to back it up this weekend. There has been no time to rest on our laurels, that’s for sure. Toulon coming to town certainly focuses the mind and we’re really looking forward to the challenge they present.
“As a player and as a coach, you want to test yourself against the very best. These are the kinds of challenges you dream of. Playing the reigning champions, on your own turf, is an occasion that doesn’t come around very often. We will look to embrace that and try to make sure we play to our potential to do ourselves justice.
“Toulon are a fantastic team. They have deservedly won the title three years running – the first team ever to achieve that – but our squad won’t be daunted. We need to draw on our experience out in Toulon last season, when we faced them in the quarter final. They deservedly won that game, but we caused them a few problems along the way and we need to build on our second half performance in the South of France. We know we have to be at our best if we are to get the result we want.
“These European occasions are rare and should be savoured. It’s not often supporters get to see so many superstars of the game, on one pitch, in a club rugby match. We are fortunate to have a few internationals ourselves and I am sure every single one of our players is relishing the chance to take on the European Champions at our home ground.”
Former Toulon and Wallaby back-row, George Smith, previews the game here.
A crowd of 20,000 are expected at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, as some of the world’s best rugby players head to Coventry. Tickets are still available to purchase. Adult tickets start from £20. Under 10s go free. The quickest way to book is online here at Wasps.co.uk with print-at-home tickets.
Alternatively, supporters can call 02476 786 411 but please be aware that the Ricoh Arena Ticket Office is experiencing a high volume of calls in the build-up to this game.
It will also be possible to buy tickets on match day. The Ticket Office will be open from 10am on Sunday morning. Supporters are encouraged to allow plenty of time to travel to the Ricoh Arena and for access to the stadium. The club advises fans to arrive earlier than normal to collect their tickets, as this is set to be the busiest match day at the Ricoh Arena so far this season.
Wasps and RC Toulon fans are welcome to watch the European Champions Cup pool game between ASM Clermont Auvergne and Ospreys live on the big screen in the Jaguar Hall before Wasps’ match, where there will also be the Wasps Interactive Zone to entertain children, alongside live music in the Fan Village.
Wasps Team to take on RC Toulon
15. Charles Piutau
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Ben Jacobs
11. Frank Halai
10. Ruaridh Jackson
9. Joe Simpson
1. Matt Mullan
2. Carlo Festuccia
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Bradley Davies
6. James Haskell ©
7. George Smith
8. Nathan Hughes
16. Ashley Johnson
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Lorenzo Cittadini
19. James Gaskell
20. Sam Jones
21. Dan Robson
22. Alex Lozowski
23. Sailosi Tagicakibau