Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v London Irish

14th September 2012 10:32

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Stephen Jones

Wasps debut: Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones will make his competitive debut for London Wasps this weekend, having been named in the number 10 jersey to take on London Irish.

Following two narrow defeats, there are five changes in all to the starting line-up.

The 104-times capped Welsh international Jones will direct a backline with one change in it, with Andrea Masi coming in as a direct replacement for Chris Bell who suffered a deep cut to the head last time out.

There are three changes up front with T Rhys Thomas, Joe Launchbury and Ashley Johnson all starting.

"London Irish present a potent attacking threat and we will need to step it up in defence to try and keep them out," said London Wasps Director of Rugby, Dai Young.

"Like us, they are a new looking squad, still finding their feet but home games are vital in this league and we want to get off to a winning start at Adams Park."

Meanwhile, London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith has named an unchanged side for their clash at Adams Park.

Declan Danaher will captain the side for the second time this season.

"Wasps have a strong squad and will be excited to be back at home. There was a big improvement from our first game last weekend and we will be looking for the same level of improvement tomorrow afternoon," said Smith.

Form: London Wasps have slipped to five successive defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby, since their 26- 24 victory over Gloucester at Adams Park on 1 April. London Irish have also tripped up twice in the opening two rounds, conceding 40 points on both occasions. The Exiles have won just once on the road in the Premiership since round three last season: 25-16 at Worcester on 21 April. The last five meetings between the two teams have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst London Irish have won just once before at Adams Park: 56-37 on 30 April 2006.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Zak Taulafo, 19 James Haskell, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Tommy Bell.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Jon Fisher, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Declan Danaher (c), 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Halani Aulika, 18 John Ryan, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Anthony Watson, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates.

Date: Saturday, September 15
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Kevin Stewart
Timekeeper: Robert Ockenden
Assessor: Tony Spreadbury

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