London Wasps have turned to their youth for Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with Leeds at Adams Park, making five changes.
London Wasps have turned to their youth for Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with Leeds Carnegie at Adams Park, making five changes.
With a lengthy injury list, Wasps interim Director of Rugby Leon Holden has turned to some of the club's young rising stars to help get the team back to winning ways.
In the backs, a duo of young guns are named – with Jack Wallace on the wing and Elliot Daly in the centre. Wallace takes the place of David Lemi who is injured while Daly replaces Seb Jewell who drops to the bench.
Up front another young player, Tom Lindsay, who scored a try in last week's Amlin Challenge Cup game against Harlequins, replaces Rob Webber in the number two shirt. Webber has this week undergone surgery for an injury to his arm and will miss the remainder of the season.
John Hart also returns to the starting line-up at number eight and captains the side, while Sam Jones – another England U20 star – plays at openside flanker – those two replacing Andy Powell and Serge Betsen who are both carrying knocks.
Two more rising England stars, Billy Vunipola and Jonah Holmes are named on the bench while Josh Lewsey also returns for Christian Wade who has a leg strain.
“The obvious issues that we have had with injuries has given us the opportunity to introduce a number of our very exciting younger players,” said Holden.
“These players have shown over the season that they are capable at this level and it will be another test for them.
“We can in no way underestimate the determination that Leeds will bring to the game and any team playing for their Premiership survival are going to be very dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Leeds head coach Neil Back has been able to name an unchanged 23-man squad for the trip to Wasps.
Skipper Marco Wentzel has not recovered in time from a hamstring injury that ruled him out at the last minute last week for the dramatic win at Newcastle.
Steve Thompson will continue to captain the side in the absence of the South African whilst Sean Hohneck will remain in the second row.
Until last season, Leeds Carnegie had never beaten London Wasps however they secured a dramatic win at Adams Park on their last visit in November 2009 and completed a double with victory at Headingley Carnegie last February.
Form: Leeds' only two victories they have ever secured against Wasps both came last season in the Premiership. London Wasps are the poorest team in Aviva Premiership Rugby on current form, having obtained just five league points from their last six matches. Wasps did however win their most recent game at Adams Park: 33-26 over Sale on 6 March. Leeds Carnegie's 30-29 victory at Newcastle on Saturday lifted them off the bottom of the table for the first time since the opening round of the season.
Wasps: 15 Mark van Gisbergen, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Jack Wallace, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Dan Ward-Smith, 7 Sam Jones, 6 John Hart (c), 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Tim Payne
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Bob Baker, 18 Zak Taulafo, 19 James Cannon, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Jonah Holmes, 22 Seb Jewell, 23 Josh Lewsey.
Leeds: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Henry Faafili, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Peter Wackett, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Sean Hohneck, 4 Daniel Browne, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Steve Thompson (c), 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Gareth Denman, 18 Juan Gomez, 19 Rhys Oakley, 20 Danny Paul, 21 Dan White, 22 Christian Lewis-Pratt, 23 Semi Tadulala.
Date: Sunday 17 April,
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Referee: David Rose