London Wasps should prepare for an angry backlash on Friday night, according to flanker James Gaskell with his wounded Sale Sharks teammates out to right the wrongs of last weekend.
Having got their season up and running with a 22-16 win over Gloucester Rugby, the Sharks were left reeling as they fell 15-14 to Aviva Premiership new-boys Newcastle Falcons.
It ended a four-game winning run at the AJ Bell Stadium in all competitions and, with a week to chew over the loss, Gaskell warned that Sale would be directing their disappointment right at Wasps.
“No one was getting too carried away after our win at Gloucester and equally no one is going to get too despondent after last Friday,” he said.
“We’ve just got to lick our wounds and come back strongly at home to Wasps. We knew, if anything, Newcastle would be a harder game than Gloucester, it was the one we had to win.
“The intensity was certainly there in training and we did nothing different to how we prepared for Gloucester. For some reason though things just didn’t happen on the night.
“We’re hurting so we’ve got to bounce back this week. You remember that hurt and you channel it into how you play the following week.”
Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has rung the changes with Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor, Kirill Kulemin and Robert Miller all promoted from the bench while Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Marc Jones, Jonathan Mills and Phil Mackenzie act as replacement.
Danny Cipriani is named in the match 23 with visiting Wasps having now lost their last ten encounters in all competitions following last weekend’s 30-26 defeat at Exeter Chiefs.
Looking to avoid losing their first three games of a new Aviva Premiership season since 2008-09, director of rugby Dai Young has made four changes to his starting team as they look to beat the Sharks for just the second time in six meetings.
Kearnan Myall has recovered from an ankle injury and will make his competitive debut against his former club, while Ben Jacobs and Charlie Davies come into the team.
Italian hooker Carlo Festuccia will also making his competitive debut in anticipation of a physical encounter against the Sharks.
“Charlie Davies and Ben Jacobs both played well off the bench last weekend and deserve their chance to start,” said Young.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what Carlo Festuccia can bring to us up front with his huge international experience – he will certainly bring some added physicality.
“This is a game we are looking forward to. We’re expecting a big physical challenge against Sale Sharks so we will certainly need to front up.”
Referee: Andrew Small (88th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart & Gareth Copsey. TMO: Trevor Fisher.