England No.8 Nathan Hughes has recovered from the knee injury sustained during the Six Nations to start tomorrow’s Aviva Premiership semi-final at Saracens (12.30pm).
With James Haskell absent due to a foot injury sustained at Newcastle, this means recent England call-up Jack Willis reverts to the blindside flank, with Thomas Young completing a powerful back-row trio.
The experienced Kearnan Myall partners skipper Joe Launchbury in the second row, while players’ player-of-the-season Tom Cruse has Jake Cooper-Woolley and Ben Harris for front row company.
Behind the scrum British & Irish Lion Elliot Daly and Christian Wade join supporters’ player-of-the-season Willie Le Roux in a back three that this season has claimed 29 tries.
Juan De Jongh partners Jimmy Gopperth in the centre outside England summer tourists Dan Robson and Danny Cipriani.
A powerful bench includes fit-again James Gaskell, the pace of Guy Thompson, Josh Bassett and Kyle Eastmond plus international props Matt Mullan and Marty Moore and hooker TJ Harris.
Director of rugby Dai Young said:
“Sarries are obviously a top side – their record over the last few years speaks for itself, so we know we will have to produce our best to beat them.
“It is also important that we play at that level for the full 80 minutes. This is an area we have discussed in detail and where I believe the quality of our bench will make a positive impact.
“I am confident we can score points, even against their legendary defence; it will be a big battle up front and we know we have to stop their ball carriers and win the battle of the gainline, with and without the ball.
“We have prepared well over the last fortnight and while it is disappointing to be without the likes of James Haskell, Tommy Taylor and Simon McIntyre through injury, it is also good to have Nathan Hughes and James Gaskell back.
“Both teams will be really up for it, as you would expect in a semi-final, and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
Wasps team to play Saracens
15. Willie Le Roux
14. Christian Wade
13. Juan De Jongh
12. Jimmy Gopperth
11. Elliot Daly
10. Danny Cipriani
9. Dan Robson
1. Ben Harris
2. Tom Cruse
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury ©
5. Kearnan Myall
6. Jack Willis
7. Thomas Young
8. Nathan Hughes
16. TJ Harris
17. Matt Mullan
18. Marty Moore
19. James Gaskell
20. Guy Thompson
21. Joe Simpson
22. Kyle Eastmond
23. Josh Bassett
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