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Preview: Wasps v Leicester Tigers

Preview: Wasps v Leicester Tigers

Wasps can give their top-four hopes a serious shot in the arm this weekend and Aviva Premiership Rugby player of the month Joe Simpson insists confidence is sky high at the Ricoh Arena.

The Ricoh is sold out for Leicester Tigers’ visit on Saturday, so a new record attendance for a Premiership match outside of Twickenham and Wembley is anticipated – exceeding the 28,254 that took in Wasps’ clash with London Irish earlier this season.

And the stakes are high, with both sides knowing a win will see them taking a step closer to reaching the coveted semi-finals.

Wasps have won their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, against London Welsh and Exeter, and boast the best home record in the league having lost just once on their own turf all season.

Simpson, in particular, is enjoying a rich vein of form and was named Aviva Premiership Rugby player of the month on Thursday.

He comes into the contest off the back of a match-winning try-of-the-season contender against Exeter last time out and is relishing the battle on Saturday – and the prospect of facing off against England No.9 Ben Youngs.

“There’s going to be an unbelievable crowd there and I’m sure they’ll get right behind us,” he said the scrum-half.

“Leicester finish well every season so we've got to be wary of that. But we know that on our day we can beat anyone, we're very confident in the ability we've got in this squad.

“We're a team that likes to throw it about and score tries and they're a team that likes to slow it down, kick the points and grind out wins, so it's going to be an interesting battle and we need to make sure that our style comes out on top at the weekend.

“It's going to be a good head-to-head between me and Ben Youngs for the spectators. But I'll just be focusing on my own jobs at the weekend, making sure all the boys know their roles and that I'm bossing my team around and making sure we're playing in the right areas.

“Hopefully the result will take care of itself.”

Leicester Tigers’ only defeat in the last seven rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby action came at Saracens last month. Indeed, only two sides have a better away record this season in the competition – Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints.

On top of that Wasps’ only victory over Tigers in their last five encounters in all tournaments was a 22-12 triumph at Adams Park in October 2013.

The Tigers are venturing into foreign territory, however, having not played a game in Coventry since January 1998 – but Niall Morris is not too apprehensive.

“I have never played there before and I am hoping that a lot of the capacity is going to be Leicester fans,” he said. “That will hopefully be good for us and we can feed off that.

“They have a lot of threats – we know all about their back three – and if we are not on it, Andy Goode will score points. We know how tough a game it is going to be. We are looking forward to it.

“There was always a great rivalry when they were in London, so moving up the road to Coventry has just added a bit more spice to it. It should be a great game and hopefully we can get the result.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just two rounds to go, now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final.

Ricoh Arena, 3.15pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Wayne Barnes (159th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Kelvin Stewart. TMO: Sean Davey

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