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Preview: Wasps v Leicester Tigers

Preview: Wasps v Leicester Tigers

Wasps hooker Ashley Johnson is taking nothing for granted this weekend as Dai Young’s men look to return to winning ways against old foes Leicester Tigers in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Johnson was part of the Wasps side that lost narrowly against Gloucester last weekend as their seven-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt in the West Country.

Wasps continue to be the best team in Aviva Premiership Rugby on current form, having picked up 23 out of a possible 30 points in their last six games and have not lost at Ricoh Arena in any tournament in 2016.

Just two points separate the sides in third and fourth position respectively in the league table and Johnson insists the fixture is a must-win game as Wasps look to stabilise their pursuit of a top-four finish.   

“The Ricoh has been amazing, the supporters have been great and we know that they will be out in full this weekend,” he said.

“It’s got a bit of added spice since we moved up, there is a bit of friendly banter with Leicester Tigers.

“If you look at the history, Wasps and Leicester have always been massive games and now it is that bit more exciting.

“They have been very impressive this season. The previous Leicester you kind of knew what to expect but they have added an extra dimension to their game – Aaron Mauger has come in and made them a threat all over the pitch.

“But we know in the forwards that first things first, you need to match them up front, we are preparing for that battle.”

Leicester Tigers have secured successive maximum point wins, the first time they have achieved this feat since the end of the 2013/14 season.

Away from home the Tigers only victory so far in 2016 came when they visited Gloucester in January and won 19-18.

Despite their indifferent away form, Leicester does have history on their side though, having won their last four encounters with Wasps since their 22-12 defeat at Adams Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby in October 2013.

Leicester’s Peter Betham knows the Tigers will face an almighty challenge in Coventry this weekend and has warned his team-mates of the threat Wasps pose behind the scrum.  

“They are a very good Wasps team, with back line threats galore,” he said. “They have got a very fast, expansive game. I think the biggest threat is their transition from go-forward ball with their forwards to going out wide.

“They are a team that really pride themselves on being expansive and fast and it is definitely a whole new threat because you don’t consistently get tests like that over here.

“We have tried to stay away from looking at the table and tried to focus on one game at a time – I know it’s a cliché – but especially with the crowd in your favour, you can’t take the prospect of a home semi-final for granted.”

Ricoh Arena, 1.45pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Greg Garner (94th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Paul Burton. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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