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De Jongh and Johnson return for Northampton trip

De Jongh and Johnson return for Northampton trip

Juan de Jongh and Ashley Johnson both return to the Wasps starting line-up for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership clash with Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 1pm).

Springbok De Jongh is handed a starting spot in the centres next to Gaby Lovobalavu while Marcus Watson, Josh Bassett and Rob Miller start in the back three and Lima Sopoaga and Joe Simpson maintain their half-back combination.

Johnson returns to captain the side from the back row next to Thomas Young and Academy youngster Tom Willis, who is set for his first ever Premiership start after impressing in the recent Premiership Rugby Cup matches and being nominated for the competition’s Breakthrough Player Award.

Ben Harris starts in the front row alongside Tom Cruse with Simon McIntyre and Tommy Taylor both sidelined through concussion, and they are joined by Kieran Brookes in the front row who prepares to face his old side.

James Gaskell is joined by Will Rowlands in the second row while the replacements bench sees hooker Antonio Harris and tighthead Jake Cooper-Woolley return to the Premiership squad for the first time since May’s semi-final with Saracens.

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “Northampton will be keen to hit some form. They snatched a win in the Cup against us. On their own patch they’ll be desperate to get a result while we look like a bit of a wounded animal at this moment in time.

“We’re a better team than we’re showing right now but there’s not much point in me talking about it, we have to go and demonstrate it.

“The talk this week is about individuals stepping up to deliver on what we know they’re good at.

“Teams go through these patches, we have to stick together, work on things we know we’re good at and hopefully that’ll be good enough at the weekend.”

Wasps (Wasps first-team appearances)

15 Rob Miller (90)
14 Marcus Watson (17)
13 Juan de Jongh (31)
12 Gaby Lovobalavu (19)
11 Josh Bassett (85)
10 Lima Sopoaga (7)
9 Joe Simpson (246)

1 Ben Harris (27)
2 Tom Cruse (44)
3 Kieran Brookes (9)
4 Will Rowlands (56)
5 James Gaskell (96)
6 Ashley Johnson (c) (170)
7 Thomas Young (94)
8 Tom Willis (8)

Replacements

16 Antonio Harris (8)
17 Tom West (8)
18 Jake Cooper-Woolley (117)
19 Kearnan Myall (122)
20 Ben Morris (5)
21 Craig Hampson (19)
22 Billy Searle (5)
23 Michael Le Bourgeois (7)

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