Preview: Wasps v Irish

Date published: December 19 2014

Over 28,000 supporters are expected at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday for Wasps first game at their new home against London Irish.

“We are all incredibly excited about playing in a world-class arena, in front of a bumper crowd,” said Young.

“Our marketing and commercial team have done an incredible job to have attracted a crowd of over 28,000 in such a short space of time, and that is testament to the work ethic and ambition of everyone involved at Wasps to make this a successful move for the Club.

“They have done their job and now it’s up to us as a playing squad to do ours. We need to produce a performance which will excite the crowd and encourage fans to continue supporting Wasps.

“Come kick off, we can’t let the emotion of the occasion get to us. We need to focus for the full 80 minutes if we are to achieve the result we all want, in order to get off to a winning start here at our new home.

“We know how tough an opposition London Irish will be and they will be keen to spoil our party. It’s important to bring the form we have shown in back-to-back wins in Europe into the Premiership, to continue building momentum.”

Meanwhile, London Irish boss Brian Smith has named an unchanged side.

Tom Court, David Paice and Geoff Cross start in the front row, with captain George Skivington and Kieran Low in the second row. Jebb Sinclair is alongside Blair Cowan on the flanks with Luke Narraway at eight.

Scott Steele and Shane Geraghty continue their half-back partnership, with Eamonn Sheridan and Eoin Griffin linking up in the midfield.

The back-three consist of Topsy Ojo and Andrew Fenby, who crossed twice last week, on the wings with Tom Homer at full-back following a 19-point haul against Cardiff.

Director of Rugby Brian Smith said: “The boys put in a great performance last week and it is important we build on it this week to continue that momentum. Wasps are a very good side and will want to start their tenure at The Ricoh with a win so we will have to be on our game to get the result.”

Form: Wasps have lost their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby matches and have not lost three in a row in the tournament since March. London Irish’s six game losing run in all competitions ended with their 34-23 home win over Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday. The Exiles have not won away from home in Aviva Premiership Rugby since beating Leicester at Welford Road in round 4. The two sides have already met once this season – in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Adams Park on 9th November where Wasps won 43-22.

The teams:

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

Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Kieran Low, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Geoff Cross, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Leo Halavatau, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Conor Gilsenan, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Alex Lewington

Date: Sunday, December 21
Kickoff: 14:00 GMT
Venue: Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Rowan Kitt