Preview: Wasps v Sale Sharks

Date published: November 25 2016

Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his squad to take on Sale Sharks in round nine of the Premiership at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday.

In the pack, Marty Moore starts in the front row where he’ll pack down alongside Tommy Taylor, who returns from England camp, and captain Matt Mullan.

The second row partnership of Matt Symons and Kearnan Myall remains unchanged, while in the back row both Ashley Johnson and Alex Rieder start, linking up with Thomas Young on the openside flank.

The backline sees two changes, with Joe Simpson starting in the nine shirt, alongside Danny Cipriani who is set to make his 150th Premiership appearance, and Frank Halai who starts on the left wing.

Ahead of Sunday’s game at the Ricoh Arena, Dai Young said: “Last Saturday was a kick in the backside, which hopefully the boys will react to. We’re an honest group and we know we will have to play much better against Sale Sharks this weekend, but I’m confident we can.

“The good thing about the Premiership is you have the opportunity to get back on the horse and put it right the following week.

“We know what Sale will bring and we’ve already seen first-hand how tough a side they are to beat, as they edged us 17-13 at the AJ Bell in the Anglo-Welsh Cup recently. They have a very solid set piece and a very strong driving game. We expect a big challenge from them up front and we know how physical a team they are.

“We’re back at home, where we have a record we’re proud of and want to defend, but we know this Sunday will be a real test for us. It’s a massive couple of weeks for us in the Premiership.”

Meanwhile, Steve Diamond has made four changes to the side that lost to Saracens last weekend at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Josh Charnley comes into the side, making his Premiership debut for the Sharks, replacing Paolo Odogwu. Mike Phillips will partner AJ MacGinty at half-back, replacing Peter Stringer.

There are also two changes at flanker, with TJ Ioane and Ben Curry starting, replacing Cameron Neild and David Seymour. Ben’s brother Tom takes a place on the bench.

Speaking ahead of the game, Diamond said: “Wasps play a great brand of rugby, and score a lot of tries, they are a really good side. They are definitely going to be up there at the business end of the season.I am hoping it will be a different experience this week.

“We need to play to the best of our abilities against a Wasps side, who are in good form and see how the result ends up.”

Form: Wasps have slipped to defeat in two of their last three Premiership matches to ruin their otherwise perfect start to the season. Wasps have won their last 15 fixtures at Ricoh Arena in 2016 since Saracens beat them there in the Premiership on 27 December. Sale Sharks have won just two of their last six Premiership Rugby matches, at home to Leicester in Round 5 and away at Bristol in Round 7. The Sharks won their most recent away game in the tournament and have not secured back-to-back victories on the road since November 2014. The two clubs have already met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup this season with Sharks winning 17-13 at AJ Bell Stadium on 4 November, whilst the last four encounters between the two in the Premiership have all gone in favour of the home team on the day.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Kyle Eastmond, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Alex Rieder, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan (c)
Replacements: 16 Jack Willis, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Tom Howe

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Josh Charnley, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 Ben Curry, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Cameron Neild, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Mark Jennings, 23 Tom Arscott

Date: Sunday, November 27
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Stuart Terheege