Preview: Toulouse v Wasps

Date published: October 21 2016

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has named his side to face Toulouse in the Champions Cup on Sunday, as Christian Wade returns to the XV.

Jimmy Gopperth starts at full-back, with Dan Robson, Tommy Taylor and Matt Symons also handed starting spots.

On the bench, there is also a return to fitness for Marty Moore, who is named among the replacements.

Ahead of the European second round fixture, Young said: “This week we very quickly put last weekend’s result to one side and focused our attentions on the challenge ahead in Toulouse. We were pleased with five points and a decent performance, but we know this Sunday will be a completely different challenge.

“Their result last weekend probably didn’t help us much. They will be hurting a little bit and be really fired up, knowing how important this game is to their European challenge.

“They have quality players across the side, but I think the biggest thing is probably going to be the physicality. They have a very big pack of forwards and we’re going to have to stand up to that.

“It’s going to be a full stadium, a great atmosphere out there, we’re playing one of the biggest names in Europe who have won the competition four times and who have been there or thereabouts for years. It’s exciting for everybody involved with the club and we’re all looking forward to Sunday’s challenge.”

Meanwhile, Toulouse have named Gael Fickou and Toby Flood in their side as they make two changes to their backline, with Florian Fritz and Jean-Marc Doussain dropping to the bench after the loss at Connacht.

Dorian Aldegheri comes in for Census Johnston at tighthead, Yoann Maestri replaces Richie Gray at lock, while Thierry Dusautoir starts at flank in place of Piula Faasalele, who moves to the replacements.

Form: This will be the seventh meeting between Wasps and Toulouse in Europe. The Premiership club have won three of the previous six, with Toulouse winning two (D1). Excluding games at neutral venues, the home side on the day has never been beaten in matches between the two former tournament winners. Wasps are responsible for Toulouse’s heaviest European defeat, a 77-17 win in 1996. That victory was also Wasps’ biggest over a Top 14 side and the fourth biggest overall in the European Cup. Joe Simpson was directly involved in four of Wasps’ 12 tries against Zebre last weekend, scoring two himself and assisting a further two. Toulouse have lost their last five games in the Champions Cup, their worst run in the competition.

The teams:

Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Yann David, 11 Paul Perez, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Carl Axtens, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Piula Faasalele, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Florian Fritz, 23 Kunatani Kunabuli

Wasps: 15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Alapati Leiua

Date: Sunday, October 23
Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon
Kick-off: 16:15 local (14:15 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Barrie O’Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)