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Botham makes Tykes debut at Wasps

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Ex-Wales and Llanelli fullback Matt Cardey also makes a debut for the Yorkshiremen, while there are bench spots for three academy players, props Michael Cusack and Jimmy Brown as well as scrum-half Mark Chester.

Coach Phil Davies said going into the game, in wake of last Sunday's home loss to Bath: "Last week was extremely disappointing and that has been compounded by the fact that we have now lost Mike Shelley and Clive Stuart-Smith to injuries for over a month.

"We are also without Tom Palmer, Simon Halford and Phil Murphy and we have now lost Stewart Campbell, who has picked up a calf strain in training this week. It was evident against Bath that we lacked bulk in our pack which Tom, Phil and Simon would have offered but we also did not do ourselves any favours.

"We have worked hard on our set plays during the pre-season and we were all disappointed with the amount of ball we conceded from our own possession. That must improve and I have no doubt that it will with every game that this team play together."

Of this weekend's match, he added: "I have had to draft in three of our academy players for the bench this week and it will be a big test of our resolve to travel down to the Champions and try and get something out of the game. 

"Carl Hogg has come out of retirement also to be a replacement. This is the worst run of injuries I have experienced in my coaching career and it will test us all to make sure that we come through it stronger. We had obviously prepared to play without our six World Cup players but the injuries have put real pressure on our squad.

"Wasps will be looking to put last weekends defeat behind them. They are an extremely talented team and deserved the Zurich Premiership title last season. 

"Warren Gatland has a strong pack and with Rob Howley dictating things behind the scrum they are a threat from all over the field. 

"Last season with managed to snatch a draw at Wasps and we will need to show the same level of determination until the final whistle on Sunday if we are going to get anything out of the game."

Leeds Tykes: 15 Matt Cardey, 14 Liam Botham, 13 Dan Scarbrough, 12 Phil Christophers, 11 David Rees, 10 Duncan Hodge, 9 Alan Dickens, 8 Colm Rigney, 7 Dan Hyde, 6 Matt Salter, 5 Stuart Hooper, 4 Scott Morgan, 3 Matt Holt, 2 Rob Rawlinson (captain), 1 Gary Powell.Replacements: 16 Jimmy Brown, 17 Michael Cusack, 18 Carl Hogg, 19 James Ponton, 20 Mark Chester, 21 Tristan Davies, 22 Tim Walsh.

Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT)


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