Planet Rugby

Preview: London Wasps v Leicester

09th September 2011 11:59


Mathew Tait

Starting for Tigers: Mathew Tait

Leicester Tigers have made two changes to their starting line-up for Sunday's clash with London Wasps at Adams Park.

Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill includes Mathew Tait - a late withdrawal last week with injury - and Ben Woods comes into the back row with Julian Salvi switching to the number eight shirt.

Thomas Waldrom, who was withdrawn with a slight groin injury in the closing stages of the defeat by Exeter Chiefs in Round One, is named among the replacements.

Graham Kitchener is back to full fitness after injury and the lock joins the matchday squad for the first time since his summer move from Worcester Warriors. Fly-half Jeremy Staunton is also included on his return from injury.

"I thought we played some pretty good stuff in parts against Exeter last week but we made some costly errors," said Cockerill.

"We knew this period was not going to be easy and we just have to battle through it."

Tigers have 11 players on international duty at the Rugby World Cup and are also without the injured Craig Newby, Jordan Crane, Geoff Parling and Julian White.

Meanwhile, London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has kept faith with the same starting line-up that beat Saracens last weekend.

There are just two changes on the bench with former All Black Ross Filipo in line for his first ever appearance for the club while Joe Burton comes in for Billy Vunipola who picked up a knock in training this week.

While Young was delighted to taste victory in the first competitive outing of the season last weekend, he says his side will have to improve if they are to get a result against Leicester.

"To get off to a winning start was exactly what we needed but we're going to have to step up again this weekend,"said Young.

"There was a lot to be pleased with last week but we've certainly not been patting ourselves on the back because the thought of playing a quality side like Leicester next was a pretty sobering one. To have them come here on the back of a loss will probably make them even more dangerous."

Sunday's game will be Young's first ever outing at Adams Park with Wasps.

Last season this fixture threw up an attacking feast of rugby as Wasps scored a late try through Richard Haughton to run out 37-30 winners.

Form: London Wasps began their Aviva Premiership campaign with a 20-15 victory over champions Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday, and have not won successive Premiership fixtures since December 2010. Leicester Tigers were beaten at home by Exeter Chiefs last Saturday and have never begun a league campaign with back to back defeats. The Tigers have won their last seven away games in the Premiership, and another victory would see them equal the all-time Premiership record in this category, which they themselves hold having set this mark between 1999-2000. The last five clashes between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Tigers have not been victorious at Adams Park since a 20-17 win on 30 September 2007.

The teams:

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 John Hart ( c ), 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Morris, 17 Jeremy Castex, 18 Bob Baker, 19 Ross Filipo, 20 Joe Burton, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Richard Haughton.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Matt Smith, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Mathew Tait, 10 George Ford, 9 James Grindal, 8 Julian Salvi, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 George Chuter (c). 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Peter Bucknall, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Mickey Young, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Niall Morris.

Date: Sunday, September 4
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 16.30 BST (15.50 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small

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