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Preview: Wasps v Gloucester

30th March 2012 12:40

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Billy Vunipola wasps

Billy Vunipola: One of two changes for Wasps

Wasps coach Dai Young has made two changes to his team for Sunday's crunch Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester.

American Paul Emerick - hugely impressive off the bench in last week's defeat at Northampton - and Billy Vunipola come in for the injured Dom Waldouck and Jonathan Poff as Wasps aim to pull away from Newcastle at the bottom of the table.

Vunipola's return at number eight sees Sam Jones shift to openside and on the bench there is a welcome return for fit-again Kiwi lock Ross Filipo.

"Gloucester gave us a real hiding earlier in the season down at Kingsholm and that still hurts. They played excellent rugby that day and so we are well aware that on that kind of form they are a difficult side to beat," said Young.

Meanwhile, Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath makes five changes in the wake of last week's last-minute defeat to Exeter last week, which was a big blow in their bid for a Heineken Cup bid.

A new midfield partnership sees Henry Trinder, recovered from a broken jaw, line up alongside Tim Molenaar with Mike Tindall and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu dropped, and Nick Runciman starts at scrum-half in place of Dave Lewis.

Tom Savage partners Jim Hamilton in the second row in preference to Alex Brown who has been unwell this week while Peter Buxton takes over from the injured Matt Cox on the blindside flank.

"Wasps have had a horrendous injury list and they've lost several players to retirement. But that means they have a lot of motivation and a point to prove," said Redpath.

"We have to get our mindset right. We have to carry ball, we have to work hard to get anything out of the game. It's going to be tough because it's a big game for both clubs."

Form: London Wasps have won just one of their last eleven Aviva Premiership Rugby matches since October: 18-13 at home to London Irish on 3 March. Gloucester have tripped up with successive defeats in the Premiership to Leicester and Exeter. Gloucester's only Premiership win on the road since October was 14-11 at Bath on 18 February. Gloucester have won their last three games against Wasps, but they have only ever been victorious at Adams Park twice before: 25-17 in May 2008 and 10-9 in February 2011.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Paul Emerick, 11 Richard Haughton, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Nic Berry, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 James Cannon, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Vladislav Korshunov, 17 Sakaria Taulafo, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Ross Filipo, 20 Tinus Du Plessis, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Tom Prydie.

Gloucester: 15 Jonny May, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Nick Runciman, 8 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Peter Buxton, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Alex Brown, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Mike Tindall.

Date: Sunday April 1
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 15:00
Referee: Andrew Small

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