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Preview: London Irish v Wasps

25th November 2011 10:35

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Tom Varndell

Varndell: Back in the starting XV

Wasps boss Dai Young has rung the changes for his side's visit to the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

Coming off the back of two wins in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Wasps will be looking to extend their good run of form and Young has juggled his line-up to ensure this happens.

Tom Varndell and Christian Wade come in on the wings while Elliot Daly wears the number thirteen jersey. Dom Waldouck switches from outside to inside centre to accommodate Daly.

It's all change in the front row, with props Ben Broster and Tim Payne packing down on either side of Rob Webber. The hooker will be making his 100th appearance for the London outfit.

Young believes that the coming weeks will prove pivotal in Wasps' season.

"This is obviously a massive game for us and this next period of five games will really shape our season. We understand the threat that London Irish pose to us. Despite only winning three games, they have scored a lot of points, which has given them the bonus points to put them at third in the table," he said.

"It was evident from last weekend's game against Cardiff that, even with 14 men, they could have won that game, and there is obviously a great team spirit there for them to put out those kind of performances."

Meanwhile, London Irish head coach Toby Booth has made four changes for the game - two in the forwards and two in the backs.

Jonathan Spratt joins Joe Ansbro in the centres to form a new midfield combination while Paul Hodgson comes in at number nine.

James Buckland will start at hooker and Jamie Gibson slots in at openside flank.

Booth is hopeful that his side can maintain their top four position.

"it is good to be back to Aviva Premiership action. It is currently very close between quite a few sides so we will continue to play competitively and hope to come away with a result and maintain our play-off position," he said.

Form: London Irish are without a win in their last four matches in all competitions and have slipped to successive reversals at Madejski Stadium. The Exiles' only victory in their last four encounters in Aviva Premiership Rugby was 42-24 at home to Worcester in round six. London Wasps' solitary defeat in their last four matches was 13-24 at home to Northampton in the Premiership on 6 November. Wasps have won their last two away games but have not been victorious in three consecutive matches away from Adams Park since November 2009. Irish beat Wasps 25-12 at Madejski Stadium the last time the two teams met to end a three game winning run by their local rivals in this fixture.

The teams:

London Irish:
15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Jonathan Spratt, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Ross Samson, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Matthew Garvey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 James Buckland, 1 Clarke Dermody.Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Alex Corbisiero, 19 James Sandford, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Anthony Watson, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Ross Samson.

Wasps:
15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Nic Berry, 8 John Hart (c), 7 Matt Everard 6 Richard Birkett, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Zak Taulafo, 18 Bob Baker, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Richard Haughton.

Date: Saturday, November 26
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Sean Davey

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