Joe Launchbury, Kyle Eastmond and Simon McIntyre all return to Wasps’ starting line-up to face Harlequins in the crucial European Champions Cup pool one meeting at the Stoop tomorrow afternoon (5.15pm).
Club captain Launchbury has recovered from a heavy cold to partner James Gaskell in the engine room, while last week’s skipper Ashley Johnson joins McIntyre and Jake Cooper-Woolley in the front row.
England international Eastmond combines with Brendan Macken in the centre, while Guy Armitage who made a good impression from the bench against Saracens last week, retains the No.23 shirt.
Elsewhere, rugby director Dai Young has named unchanged back-row, half-back and back three combinations for a third consecutive week.
— Wasps (@WaspsRugby) January 12, 2018
This means Christian Wade makes his 150th appearance on the right wing, while James Haskell represents Wasps for a 50th time in Europe from the blindside flank.
A black-and-gold bench featuring plenty of experience includes Joe Simpson, Guy Thompson, Kearnan Myall and Rob Miller, who collectively have made 500 Wasps appearances.
Young believes successes against Harlequins, and next weekend when Ulster visit the Ricoh Arena, to be the minimum requirement if his club are to progress to the quarter-finals for a fourth consecutive season.
“We definitely need two wins, we may even need nine points which would mean we need to get a bonus-point from somewhere,” he says.
“We’ve just got to look to win the games and if we’re in a position where we can push for a bonus-point in the last 15 minutes, so be it.
“It’s always a tight game against Quins and we don’t expect anything different this weekend even though the competition is over for them.
“I think they’d quite enjoy putting a dent in our ambitions as well, so we’re not expecting any favours. We know it’s going to be a tough game and we know we’re going to have to play some good stuff.”
15. Willie Le Roux
14. Christian Wade
13. Brendan Macken
12. Kyle Eastmond
11. Marcus Watson
10. Danny Cipriani
9. Dan Robson
1. Simon McIntyre
2. Ashley Johnson
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury ©
5. James Gaskell
6. James Haskell
7. Thomas Young
8. Nizaam Carr
16. Tom Cruse
17. Ben Harris
18. Marty Moore
19. Kearnan Myall
20. Guy Thompson
21. Joe Simpson
22. Rob Miller
23. Guy Armitage