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Preview: Wasps v Sale Sharks

28th February 2014 09:39

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SKY_MOBILE Joe Simpson - Wasps Aviva Premiership

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London Wasps boss Dai Young has made four changes to his starting lineup for Saturday's Premiership visit of Sale Sharks.

Joe Simpson, Josh Bassett, Tommy Bell and Sam Jones all return to the XV.

There are also a number of changes among the substitutes. Neil Cochrane, Phil Swainston, Tom Palmer and Andy Goode all return to the matchday 23 after spending time on the sidelines through injury, while Nathan Hughes and Charlie Davies join them bench, having started last weekend.

"We know how important the game is to both teams," said Young.

"The result will by no means settle the battle for the top six but the winner of the game will definitely have an advantage going into the final run of games. Our focus is to back up a good performance last week with another strong display and hopefully the right result this Saturday."

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond has made seven changes to his squad, including Henry Thomas, who replaces Vadim Cobilas - his first start since his England performances in the Six Nations.

The front row is also switched around, with Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor replacing Eifion Lewis-Roberts and Marc Jones. Andrei Ostrikov replaces Jonathan Mills.

There are also changes at 9 and 10 with Will Cliff and Nick MacLeod replacing first choices Dwayne Peel and Danny Cipriani.

Birthday boy Mark Jennings replaces Sammy Tuitupou at 12, in the week he turns 21.

Form: London Wasps have slipped to four straight defeats in all tournaments since they beat London Irish at Adams Park in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 25th January. Wasps have won just one of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters at Wycombe: 19-16 over Exeter on 5th January. Sale Sharks have won three of their last four fixtures in the Premiership; the defeat being 10-15 at home to Saracens in round 14. The Sharks have won their last two away games in the tournament, at Newcastle and at Worcester, but have not won three in a row on their travels in the same season since 2004/05. Wasps have been victorious just once in their last six encounters with Sale in all tournaments: 25-18 at Adams Park in the Premiership on 23rd December 2012. The Sharks won on their most recent visit to Adams Park: 33-30 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in February 2013.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Will Helu, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Charlie Hayter

Sale: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick MacLeod, 9 Will Cliff, 8 James Gaskell, 7 Dave Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Andrei Ostrikov, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Sammy Tuitupou

Date: Saturday, March 1
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant referees: JP Doyle, Stuart Terheege
Television match official: Keith Lewis
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet
Assessor: Gary Welsh/Ashley Reay

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1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
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5Harlequins1954