TOP BAR - Fixtures

Wasps team to take on Bristol Rugby on Saturday

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has named the squad to travel to Clifton RFC this Saturday to take on newly promoted Bristol Rugby, in their final pre-season friendly before facing Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 4 September in the opening round of the Aviva Premiership 2016/17.

Niggles have prevented two squads being named as originally intended, but Saturday will still provide a good opportunity for Young to rotate certain positions to ensure players have enough game-time under their belt ready for Aviva Premiership kick off.
 
Joe Launchbury has his first run out as Wasps’ new skipper, forming the second row partnership with James Gaskell.
 
There’s also a first appearance for fellow England international Elliot Daly, who comes into Wasps’ midfield alongside new signing Nick De Luca, with Brendan Macken on the bench after playing 80 minutes last weekend. Rob Miller, Frank Halai and Josh Bassett make up Wasps back three.

Jimmy Gopperth and Joe Simpson form the half-back pairing, while new signing Tommy Taylor enjoys his first start in the front row, lining up alongside Matt Mullan and Phil Swainston. The back row remains unchanged with Sam Jones, Guy Thompson and Nathan Hughes forming the back row unit.
 
Ahead of the encounter, Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: "We’re looking for a step up from last weekend. There are a lot of positives to build on from the performance against Yorkshire Carnegie, but also a lot of things to work on. We believe this will be a step up in opposition as we’re up against a newly-promoted, talented team who will definitely want to hit the ground running. So we see this as a real test for us and feel this is a game which will push us to where we want to be, ready for Exeter Chiefs in our first Premiership match at the Ricoh Arena next Sunday.

"We will again be taking a bigger squad. We’re not necessarily desperate to get everyone on to give everyone game time, but we certainly don’t want to leave players on if they start to carry any niggles. We’re intending to use the vast majority of the bench and to look at one or two different combinations as there’s a little uncertainty as to who in the backline will be fit for next weekend, so we need to cover every angle there. Obviously we’re not going to show our hand too early, we need to keep a little back for the first couple of Aviva Premiership games, but we certainly want to see a step up and an improvement as we look to build on last Sunday’s performance."

Wasps’ Aviva Premiership campaign kicks off against Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 4 September. Tickets are available online https://www.eticketing.co.uk/wasps by calling 02476 786411, or at the Ricoh Arena Ticket Office.
 
Wasps side to face Bristol Rugby

15. Rob Miller
14. Frank Halai
13. Elliot Daly
12. Nick De Luca
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Joe Simpson

1. Matt Mullan
2. Tommy Taylor
3. Phil Swainston
4. Joe Launchbury ©
5. James Gaskell
6. Sam Jones
7. Guy Thompson
8. Nathan Hughes
 
16. Ashley Johnson
17. Will Rowlands  
18. Simon McIntyre
19. Tom Cruse
20. Alex Rieder
21. Dan Robson
22. Danny Cipriani
23. Christian Wade
24. Brendan Macken
25. Owain James
26. Matt Symons
27. Will Stuart 

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