Preview: Zebre v Wasps

Date published: January 20 2017

Zebre have made six changes for their final Champions Cup pool match this season up against Wasps on Sunday.

Edoardo Padovani starts at outside centre, moving Mattia Bellini into the 12 jersey, in an otherwise unchanged backline for the Italian side.

Derick Minnie starts at number eight over Federico Ruzza, who drops to the bench, while a brand new second row of Gideon Koegelenberg and Valerio Bernabò also get the nod.

Zebre's two final changes come in the front row, with Dario Chistolini at tighthead and Oliviero Fabiani starting at hooker.

Meanwhile, Elliot Daly is set to make his 150th appearance for Wasps at the age of 24, while Matt Mullan is in line for his 100th Wasps appearance and 50th European appearance, when he comes off the bench.

England international James Haskell is named in the starting line-up, joining Guy Thompson and Ashley Johnson in Wasps’ back row.

In the front row, Tommy Taylor returns from injury to start at hooker, alongside Marty Moore and Simon McIntyre, who makes his first start for Wasps since October, having returned to fitness a couple of weeks ago following an ankle injury picked up against Saracens. Wasps’ skipper Joe Launchbury and Matt Symons form the second row partnership.

Wasps’ back three are made up of Kurtley Beale, Christian Wade and Frank Halai. Kyle Eastmond and Elliot Daly provide the centre combination, with Danny Cipriani and Dan Robson the half backs. Craig Hampson is named on the bench, with Joe Simpson ruled out by a wrist sprain.

Form: Zebre are not having a good run after 17 games played in the tournament in its entirety as the Italians have not won a single game. Most recently they have suffered three big losses in a row, to Toulouse twice and Connacht with a score of 66-21. Wasps have been in better form with a 32-17 win over Connacht, then a loss to the Irishman before squeaking a win past Toulouse 17-14.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Lloyd Greeff, 13 Mattia Bellini, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Guglielmo Palazzani, 10 Carlo Canna (c), 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 George Biagi, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D’Apice, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Serafin Bordoli, 23 Andries Van Schalkwyk

Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Simon McIntyre
Replacements: 16 Nathan Hughes, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Craig Hampson, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Josh Bassett

Date: Sunday, January 22
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

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