Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Newcastle

02nd May 2014 12:40


tom palmer london wasps

Starts: Tom Palmer

London Wasps boss Dai Young has made two enforced changes to his team for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle at Adams Park.

After a six day turnaround, the tweaks see Charlie Hayter start alongside Elliot Daly in the centre as captain Chris Bell is out with a head knock.

Tom Palmer joins Joe Launchbury in the second-row in place of the injured Kearnan Myall. James Cannon and Tommy Bell come onto the bench, as London Wasps continue to battle for a seventh place play-off spot for next season's European Rugby Champions Cup.

The following players are unavailable for selection due to injury: Jake Cooper-Woolley, Guy Thompson, Andrew Suniula, Kearnan Myall and long-term injuries to Christian Wade, Ben Jacobs, Will Taylor and Jack Moates.

Meanwhile, Kieran Brookes returns from suspension for the Falcons' penultimate Aviva Premiership clash of the season.

The England Saxon is one of five changes that succumbed to a narrow 23-18 defeat to high-flying Saracens at Kingston Park a fortnight ago, a result which gave the Falcons a losing bonus-point to move themselves eight points clear of bottom side Worcester Warriors.

A new-look front-row has been named for the trip to Adams Park with experienced campaigners Rob Vickers and Scott Lawson packing down alongside tight-head Brookes.

Meanwhile, Argentina international Gonzalo Tiesi makes a welcome return from injury to partner James Fitzpatrick in the centres.

Victory for Newcastle will mathematically secure their top-flight status, while if Worcester fail to win at Saracens the same day, the Kingston Park club will be assured of their safety regardless.

"The boys have trained really well over the last couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to the game," said Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards.

"Wasps are an excellent side, who are well organised with quality right across the field - we will have to be at our very best in order to get the result that we want," he added.

Form: London Wasps will be anxious to record another win to consolidate their 7th placed spot in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and the chance of a play-off to grab a European place for next season. The Londoners beat Gloucester 38-30 at Twickenham in round 20 but have not won a Premiership encounter at Adams Parks since beating Exeter there on 5th January. Newcastle Falcons need three league points from this fixture to ensure Premiership rugby next season -they have however contrived to lose their last 14 matches in the tournament since beating London Irish at Kingston Park on 27th October. The last two fixtures between the two clubs have both been won by the away side on the day, whilst the Falcons have been victorious on two of their last three visits to Adams Park.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Will Helu, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Taione Vea, 19 James Cannon, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Tommy Bell.

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Harry Spencer, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Lee Smith.

Date: Saturday, May 3
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Andrew Pearce
Television match official: Sean Davey

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