Preview: Gloucester v Wasps

Date published: September 21 2012

London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with Gloucester.

London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Tommy Bell gets his first start at full-back in place of skipper Hugo Southwell who misses out with a hand injury. James Haskell replaces Joe Launchbury, who is also out with injury, while Zak Taulafo starts after this try-scoring impact from the bench last weekend.

Marco Wentzel captains the side this weekend as Wasps go in search of a first win on the road this season following a bonus point victory over London Irish at Adams Park last weekend.

Despite scoring four tries in their win over London Irish last week Young wants and improved showing from his side.

“We are looking for a consistent 80 minute performance, which we haven't put together yet in any of our three games,” he said.

“We have a chance of going down there and winning if we do that well, and if we don't they are a physical side with backs who can really punish you.”

Meanwhile, Gloucester boss Nigel Davies hands first starts to Rob Cook and Sione Kalamafoni.

Both made their bows as replacements in the Premiership this season, but are called into the starting line up as Davies makes seven changes, three positional, to the side that started at Worcester last weekend.

Cook comes in at full-back as Jonny May moves to the right wing with Charlie Sharples and Shane Monahan both sidelined.

Freddie Burns returns at fly half and, to accommodate him, Billy Twelvetrees moves across to inside centre.

Darren Dawidiuk gets the nod at hooker and Tom Savage moves into the second row from the blind side flank with Tongan international Kalamafoni taking over the number six shirt.

As Gloucester return to Kingsholm for the first time since the opening day of the season, Davies feels that his side have developed over the past couple of weeks.

“We've learned a lot about ourselves, we've been able to progress and have had three competitive fixtures now,” he said.

“That's where you really test yourselves.

“We've learned a lot. I believe we've got a clear understanding of where our game needs to be and what it's about and, if we can get anywhere near it, then we're going to play a good brand of rugby come Saturday.”

Wasps had a good win last weekend and will come to Kingsholm with a spring in their step but Davies knows that every week brings a new challenge for his team.

“We know the size of the challenge and there are never any easy games in the Aviva Premiership, that's for sure.

“Wasps play a particular way and it's really challenging every week to come in and look at the respective styles of play of the teams that we're coming up against.

“But our focus is absolutely on ourselves and getting our own game right but with a slight variation depending on who we're playing.

“It's heads on this Saturday making sure we put in the performance and get the result.”

Form: Gloucester's solo victory in their last nine encounters was 40-31 at London Irish in round two. Gloucester have now slipped to four successive home defeats but haven't lost five in a row at Kingsholm since 1995. London Wasps ended an unwanted sequence of five consecutive defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby with their 43-14 victory over London Irish at Adams Park on Saturday. Wasps most recent win away from home in the Premiership came at Worcester last October. Each side won its respective home game in last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign, whilst Wasps only success at Kingsholm since 2006 was 35-6 on 24 October 2009.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan. 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Jim Hamilton (c), 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Martyn Thomas.

London Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 James Haskell, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 James Cannon, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Jack Wallace.

Date: Saturday, September 22
Kick-off: 15:15 BST
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Andrew Watson
Television match official: Graham Hughes
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion
Assessor: Brian Campsall