Preview: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

Date published: April 24 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_4608869841

Wasps are boosted by the return of Christian Wade and Nathan Hughes, from injury and suspension respectively, as Wasps go into the first of three final Premiership matches.

Three more changes to the side from the last outing see Carlo Festuccia, Lorenzo Cittadini and Kearnan Myall all handed starting shirts.

Ahead of the game, Dai Young said: “Exeter have been a team that we have had trouble beating over the last few seasons, so we know exactly how tough it will be for us on Sunday. They have played some very good rugby this season and their ability to run teams around has seen them move up into the top four with some well-deserved results.

“We are going into the game in decent form and with bags of confidence. We didn’t play as well as we could against London Welsh but we got the result that we needed and we know where we need to improve this weekend.

“It’s been a long time since we played at the Ricoh Arena and playing there really does give the side a boost. The support we get there is phenomenal and we have had some great performances at our new home. We are looking forward to getting back there and hopefully getting a win, which will be big for us and for the supporters.

You have to win your home games if you want to be in the top six, it doesn’t matter who you’re up against. We face a side who deservedly sit fourth in the table and we know that we will have to be near our best.”

Meanwhile, for the Chiefs Byron McGuigan come in at full-back for Phil Dollman, who has been unable to shake off the leg injury he sustained during the first half of last week's game. 

On the bench, Damian Welch is fit again after minor surgery on his ankle and replaces Academy youngster Sam Skinner, whilst hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie also returns at the expense of Elvis Taione.

Other than that, it's a familiar feel to the Exeter line-up as they look to record yet another Premiership double this season.

Form: Exeter Chiefs have lost only one of their last six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: at Leicester in round 18, and are the best team in the competition on current form having earned 23 league points from those encounters. Wasps only victory over Exeter in their last nine fixtures in all tournaments was 19-16 at Adams Park in Premiership Rugby in January 2014. This is Exeter's first visit to Coventry since beating the City club at the Butts Park Arena in the RFU Championship in September 2009.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Cannon, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Rob Miller

Exeter: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Jack Nowell, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Kai Horstmann, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Mitch Lees, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Tom James

Date: Sunday, April 26
Venue: Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Sean Davey

COMMENTS