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Preview: Leicester Tigers v Wasps

Preview: Leicester Tigers v Wasps

Wasps have not won at Welford Road since September 2008 and second row James Gaskell knows it will take a monumental effort from his side if they are to end that losing run.

Leicester did the double over Dai Young’s men in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season and while Wasps had won the previous six games at Adams Park between the sides before that, they have lost their last six games at thehome of the Tigers.

Richard Cockerill’s men have started the season strongly with two wins from two and are now unbeaten in ten at Welford Road.

“It doesn’t get much tougher than Leicester away at Welford Road,” said Gaskell, who started last weekend’s 16-9 victory over Bath Rugby.

“We know it’s another big challenge – we faced a big pack last week and it is going to be as big, if not bigger, this week. It is going to be a tough day at the office.

“We have looked at their lineout and scrum briefly. It is a big pack and they are very physical at the breakdown. And if they can get the ball to the backline, they are going to cause problems there as well.

“If we get the chance to break the field down and give the ball to boys like Elliot Daly, Christian Wade, Frank Halai and Rob Miller, then hopefully we can cause them problems too.”

Wasps’ three-game winless run in Aviva Premiership Rugby ended at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday when Bathcame to town.

But their only win on the road in the competition so far in 2015 came when they visited London Welsh in April.

Young has handed Dan Robson his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start for Wasps at scrum-half on Sunday and Kearnan Myall makes the XV for the first time this season.

Ruaridh Jackson lines up at full-back in place of Rob Miller, who picked up a hamstring injury against Bath, and after Ben Jacobs strained his knee last weekend, James Downey starts at inside centre.

Bradley Davies is set to provide reinforcement from the bench, having returned after a week off following Wales' Rugby World Cup campaign.

For Tigers, summer signing Opeti Fonua is included in the starting line-up for the first time and England prop Dan Cole also returns to the XV following his World Cup campaign.

New arrival Telusa Veainu is included among the replacements after starring with Tonga at the World Cup and there are also places in the matchday squad for scrum-half Jono Kitto and former Newcastle Falcons lock Dom Barrow. 

Jordan Crane also returns to the matchday squad after recovery from a knee injury.

Leicester’s Tom Croft said: “Wasps will pose us a real threat. We are aware of those threats and we will have to improve but as long as we do then we will put up a fight and hopefully get a victory.

“Joe Simpson at scrum-half is electric, Joe Launchbury and Gaskell are threats at the lineout and in Nathan Hughes they have a big ball-carrier at the base of the scrum – not to mention the rapid set of backs they have.

“They have threats across the pitch but we will focus on ourselves and try to improve on the areas we didn’t do so well at against Quins.”

Leicester Tigers v Wasps (Welford Road, 3.15pm)
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (97th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Simon Harding.
TMO: Stuart Terheege.
Live on BT Sport

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