Wasps name team to face Exeter Chiefs
Director of rugby Dai Young hands a Wasps debut to Brad Shields, while Lima Sopoaga is named amongst the replacements, as his club play its first 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership home game at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
There are just four changes to the starting 15 from Saturday’s win against Worcester Warriors.
Wasps debutant Shields replaces the injured Nizaam Carr at blindside flanker, to join Nathan Hughes and Joe Atkinson in the back row.
Kieran Brookes gets a first competitive start for Wasps, moving from the bench to the starting front row alongside Ben Harris and Tommy Taylor, who also swaps the replacements for the starting side.
The only other change sees Gaby Lovobalavu come in at 12, shifting Juan De Jongh to outside centre and Elliot Daly to full back.
The side is once again captained by Joe Launchbury, who is partnered in the second row by Will Rowlands. Rowlands is in line to make his 50th Wasps appearance at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
Behind the scrum, Billy Searle forms the half-back partnership with Dan Robson. Christian Wade and Josh Bassett combine with Daly in the back three.
New arrival Sopoaga could make his Wasps bow from amongst the replacements and is joined on an impactful bench by Tom Cruse, Zurabi Zhvania, Will Stuart, James Gaskell, Ashley Johnson, Joe Simpson and Rob Miller.
Director of Rugby Dai Young said:
“We love playing at the Ricoh and our record shows we’re pretty formidable at home. We want to turn it into a bit of a fortress and it’s a massive game for us. I am looking forward to it.
“You can sense a bit of an edge in training. You know we’re going to have to be good. Everybody talks about the way Exeter play. We know what they’re going to bring but we’ve still got to stop it.
“They’re a quality team who do not have too many weaknesses but we’ve shown in the past. If we get our game going we’re more than a handful for anybody.
“We’re under no illusions and we know we’re going to have to play our best rugby and if we don’t play our best rugby, it could be a hard day at the office.”
Wasps team to face Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday September 8 (2:00pm kick off)
15 Elliot Daly
14 Christian Wade
13 Juan De Jongh
12 Gaby Lovobalavu
11 Josh Bassett
10 Billy Searle
9 Dan Robson
1 Ben Harris
2 Tommy Taylor
3 Kieran Brookes
4 Joe Launchbury (c)
5 Will Rowlands
6 Brad Shields
7 Joe Atkinson
8 Nathan Hughes
16 Tom Cruse
17 Zurabi Zhvania
18 Will Stuart
19 James Gaskell
20 Ashley Johnson
21 Joe Simpson
22 Lima Sopoaga
23 Rob Miller
Season membership packages enable Wasps supporters to save as much as 33 per cent compared to ticket purchase on a match-by-match basis, and in the process, secure a seat of their choice for the whole campaign.
Under 10s go free in most areas of the Ricoh Arena.
Book seats by visiting the Ricoh Arena ticket office, going to www.wasps.co.uk/tickets or calling 02476 786411.
Tickets for Wasps v Exeter, priced from £18, are available from the same outlets.