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Preview: Wasps v Gloucester Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Gloucester Rugby

Richard Hibbard believes Billy Burns can help lead a Gloucester Rugby back-line brimming with talent to a third Aviva Premiership Rugby victory in four games at Wasps on Sunday.

The Cherry & Whites ran defending champions Saracens down to the wire in Round 2 before holding on to complete a victory over local rivals Worcester Warriors last time out.

Wasps however have proved an obstacle for Gloucester of late, having not recorded a win over Dai Young’s men in Aviva Premiership Rugby since September 2012.

Chosen to lead from fly-half this time around is 21-year-old Burns, brother of Leicester Tiger Freddie, in his first start of the season.

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw is restored to the starting XV after his exploits at the Rugby World Cup while internationals James Hook and Billy Twelvetrees form a rather handy-looking partnership in the centres.

And with Gloucester looking to reassert themselves as a force in English rugby, Hibbard admits a third win in four would be something to savour.

“Billy had a fantastic pre-season, he picked up a knock in one of the games but has been awesome for us,” he said.

“He’s already shown how good a player he is going to be for Gloucester in the future. But if you look at the entire back-line, there’s so much strength in depth there with the young players coming through.

“Wasps have got some very dangerous ball carriers across the board and they’ve got some absolute quality in their back-line, very quick around the edges, so they are likely to click at some point during the season.

“But it’d be a dream start for us getting three out of four wins before Europe, it’s definitely something we targeted going into the season.”

The task looks more of an uphill climb when you consider that Gloucester have only won twice on Wasps’ home soil since 1990 in all competitions.

Yet Wasps lock Bradley Davies is expecting a confident Cherry & Whites side to set their stall out at the Ricoh Arena.

“Gloucester are a very good team, they are very well coached and have got some very good players,” said Davies. “They’ve made a good start to the season as well so they will come to the Ricoh fancying their chances of getting something.

“But we have to win our home games, we want to get some momentum going and ideally start building into Europe.

“We played OK in patches in each of our games so far so hopefully we can put it all together against Gloucester.” 

Ricoh Arena, 3pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Ian Tempest (9th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Darren Gamage & Robin Goodliffe. TMO: David Sainsbury.

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