Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his team to take on Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday, 20:15 KO.
Guy Thompson captains the team from the back-row, where he lines up alongside Alex Rieder and Senior Academy and England U20s flanker, Jack Willis.
Other Senior Academy players included in the starting XV are Owain James at full back and Connor Eastgate at 10, who forms the half-back pairing with Craig Hampson. The remaining starting XV has a strong depth of experience, including former Scotland international Nick De Luca and Emerging Ireland centre Brendan Macken, who combine for the midfield partnership.
Samoan international Alapati Leiua runs out on the right wing, as he continues his return to full match fitness following an ACL injury.
On the left wing, Guy Armitage is set to make his Wasps debut. There’s also a first team debut in line for Marcus Garratt, who starts alongside Will Rowlands in the second row.
The front row is made up of regular first team players, Phil Swainston, Tom Cruse and Tom Bristow.
The bench is packed with promising young talent, keen to make an impact in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. All are part of Wasps Senior Academy, except 17-year-old Will Porter, Wasps’ U18 captain who is part of the Junior Academy and playing at Merchant Taylors’ School, and 25-year-old back row Alistair Bone, from Coventry RFC.
Ahead of the Anglo-Welsh opener, Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “I see this competition as a good opportunity for two reasons, firstly to give some of the guys who’ve played a lot of rugby a bit of a break, and I think you could see last weekend from a rather tired and flat performance that this has come just at the right time for some of the guys. Secondly, it’s a much needed opportunity for a number of players who haven’t had many minutes of rugby yet.
“I’m looking forward to seeing those guys play and the clear message to them is to put pressure on me for selection – to put their hand up to try to force some more game-time, which they understandably all want to achieve. This is a step-up from the A League without a shadow of a doubt. We’ve named a strong team and I’m hoping the boys will take advantage and take their opportunities.”
Wasps team to face Sale Sharks in Anglo-Welsh Cup opener
15. Owain James
14. Alapati Leiua
13. Nick De Luca
12. Brendan Macken
11. Guy Armitage
10. Connor Eastgate
9. Craig Hampson
1. Tom Bristow
2. Tom Cruse
3. Phil Swainston
4. Marcus Garratt
5. Will Rowlands
6. Jack Willis
7. Alex Rieder
8. Guy Thompson ©
16. George Edgson
17. Tom West
18. Will Stuart
19. Ehize Ehizode
20. Alistair Bone
21. Will Porter
22. Jacob Umaga
23. Tom Howe
Injury update after Phase One of the season
• James Haskell – toe, expected to return to full-training mid-December.
• Sam Jones – broken leg & ankle ligaments, ruled out of the rest of this calendar year.
• Simon McIntyre – has undergone an operation on his ankle and is expected to be out for approx. 10 weeks.
• Alex Lundberg- is progressing well from an ankle injury and is due back towards end November.
• Thomas Young – chest, expected back next week.
• Marty Moore – neck, expected back in couple of weeks.
• Jake Cooper-Woolley – knee, undergoing assessments with physio team.
• Kurtley Beale – knee, hoping to return to full-training mid-December.
To arrive February:
• Willie Le Roux
On international duty:
• Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly, Nathan Hughes and Tommy Taylor