Preview: London Wasps v Sale Sharks

16th Sep 2011, 16:39

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Strong ball carrier: James Gaskell

Strong ball carrier: James Gaskell

London Wasps have made four changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's clash with Sale Sharks at Adams Park.

London Wasps have made four changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's clash with Sale Sharks at Adams Park.

Ross Fillipo, Chris Mayor, Ryan Davis and Richard Haughton all come in to make their first starts in the Aviva Premiership this season.

Richard Birkett, Riki Flutey and Hugo Southwell move to the bench, while Nick Robinson is ruled out for the weekend with a hamstring strain.

There is also a return to the match day squad for hooker Tom Lindsay who is named on the bench in place of Nathan Morris.

"We've got quality players right throughout our squad and we're lucky that we're in a situation where there is massive competition for every shirt in the starting team," said Director of Rugby Dai Young.

"That puts me in the position of being able to rotate the squad, even though the team is winning, and know that we won't lose anything in intensity and quality. This is particularly important when we have a small gap between games with this week's turnaround being six days."

Young says that despite being pleased with the first two wins, nobody at Wasps is getting carried away at this stage of the season.

"We are by no means getting ahead of ourselves. We've had two good wins but both were games that we could have lost if we are brutally honest. Sale will come here looking to generate momentum after their win last weekend and we've got a lot of room for improvement ourselves so this will require another step-up for us."

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks have made three changes, one positional, to their starting XV.

Joe Ward has an injury and misses the chance to face his former club, whilst Charlie Amesbury makes his first start of the season on the wing.

"Wasps obviously have a very good set piece and a good back line to go with it," said Sharks' Executive Director of Sport Steve Diamond.

"We've got to get our scrum right, because we're going down to take on the form team of the moment. They're an established team and we're still new, finding our feet."

Form: London Wasps have opened their season impressively under new coach Dai Young with back to back victories and have won their last three encounters at Adams Park. Sale Sharks recorded a narrow first victory of the season (30-29) at home to London Irish on Friday evening. The Sharks are without an away win in Aviva Premiership Rugby since their trip to Leeds on 22 October 2010. Wasps achieved a Premiership double over Sale last season, whilst the Sharks have won just once at Adams Park since 2004: 13-12 on 23 November 2008.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

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

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Joaquin Tuculet, 13 Andrew Higgins, 12 Will Addison, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (capt), 6 James Gaskell, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Lee Imiolek.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Aston Croall, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Neil Briggs, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Kyle Tonetti, 23 Tom Brady

Date: Saturday, September 17
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00GMT)
Referee: Greg Garner