Preview: Wasps v Gloucester

Date published: February 27 2015

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Dai Young has named his Wasps side to take on Gloucester on Sunday, with the club set to break the 100,000 mark in six games at the Ricoh Arena.

Joe Simpson has recovered from the shoulder-knock he picked up in Friday's draw against Newcastle, to start at nine, with Wasps new signing Piri Weepu providing back-up in the absence of the injured Charlie Davies and Jack Moates.

Tom Varndell starts on the left wing, with Tagicakibau providing cover on the bench for wing and centre.

A new second-row partnership sees James Cannon line up alongside James Gaskell, while the front-row and back-row remain unchanged from Friday's game.

The 100,000th supporter is set to walk through the turnstiles at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, for Wasps' sixth game since arriving in Coventry.

"The support we have received from the Coventry and Warwickshire community, alongside our long-standing Wasps fans, has been magnificent and it makes such a difference to the squad running out to such a vocal crowd," said Young.

"We'll need that kind of backing again this Sunday as it's going to be another tough challenge against a very good Gloucester side, who will certainly want to come to the Ricoh to put the record straight after we got the win at Kingsholm in December. Since we played Gloucester, they have turned a corner and have put together some really good performances and decent wins, so it will be an immense battle on Sunday."

Meanwhile, Gloucester have made five changes to their starting line-up to take on Wasps.

Jonny May is back from England duty and slots in on the wing, while Mark Atkinson takes over at outside centre from the luckless Henry Trinder who was stretchered off last weekend in his first start since week two.

Dan Robson returns at scrum-half, and there are two changes in the pack where Darren Dawidiuk and former Wasp, Tom Palmer, replace Aleki Lutui and James Hudson respectively.

Form: Wasps' only victory in their last five matches in all tournaments was 37-6 over Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 15 February – a sequence which has included two draws. Wasps have won all three Premiership games they have played at the Ricoh Arena, all with a try bonus point, scoring 17 tries and conceding just two. Gloucester have lost just one of their last eight fixtures in all tournaments: 15-18 at Leicester in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 13 February. Four of their last five victories have been gained with a try bonus point; in the other win they scored three tries. Wasps' only defeat in their last six encounters with Gloucester in all competitions came at Kingsholm in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in February 2014. In Aviva Premiership Rugby the last ten clashes between the two clubs have produced eight losing bonus points and five try bonus points. Gloucester’s only previous visit to the Ricoh Arena resulted in a 17-0 victory against the Dragons in the semi-final of the Anglo-Welsh Cup in March 2009. Wasps are narrow favourites with Betbright

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 James Downey, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Gaskell, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 Jonny May, 13 Mark Atkinson, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 James Hook, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Tom Savage (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 James Hudson, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Gareth Evans.

Date: Sunday, March 1
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Roger Baileff
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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