Preview: Wasps v Harlequins

Date published: September 30 2016

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has named his side to face Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday.

In the pack, Matt Mullan captains the side from the front row, with Ashley Johnson making his first start of the season at hooker and Kearnan Myall gets the nod in the second row.

The backline sees just one change from last weekend, with Dan Robson starting in the nine shirt, and Joe Simpson moving to the bench.

Ahead of the game, Dai Young said: “Harlequins will come here full of confidence, after a superb result last weekend when they beat the defending Premiership and European champions, Saracens. Quins showed everyone what they’re capable of and we’re very aware of how much talent they have in their ranks and how dangerous they can be.

“There’s been a good buzz around the training ground as you can imagine, but we’re also realistic enough to know we rode our luck last weekend for the win against Saints, so we need to make sure we’re much better this weekend and not rely on lady luck to get over the line. I was proud of the players’ endeavour, attitude and desire, but we have to be better within our structures this week if we’re to get the result we want.”

Meanwhile, there are four changes to the Harlequins starting team that beat Saracens last weekend. 

Marland Yarde has recovered from a throat infection and is named on the wing. Alofa Alofa will make his first start of the season, partnering Jamie Roberts in the centres. Karl Dickson starts at scrum-half, replacing Danny Care who sustained a rib injury last weekend. 

In the forwards, Mark Lambert starts at loosehead prop. Joe Marler has successfully completed the concussion protocol and is named among the replacements. In the absence of Care, James Horwill will captain the side.

George Naoupu and Charlie Mulchrone will look to make their first senior appearances for the Club from the replacements.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Harlequins director of rugby, John Kingston said: “We are under no illusion about the challenge that Wasps present this weekend. They are the form team of the Aviva Premiership.

“There is a great history between the two clubs and despite the geographical difference, these matches still feel like derbies."

Form: Wasps are now the only club left in Premiership Rugby who are unbeaten this season which coincides with their best start to a league campaign since 1996/97. Wasps have won their last eleven matches at Ricoh Arena in al tournaments. Harlequins toppled champions Saracens from the top of the table with their 17-10 victory at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday, but away from home have won only once in Premiership Rugby since early January: 32-25 at London Irish on May 1. Wasps have won just one of their last four fixtures against ‘Quins in all tournaments: 21-26 at The Stoop in October 2015. Harlequins have lost both of their previous visits to Ricoh Arena, conceding a try bonus point on each occasion.

The teams:

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

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 James Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 James Lang, 23 Winston Stanley

Date: Sunday, October 2
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Trevor Fisher