Planet Rugby

Preview: London Wasps v Saracens

29th March 2013 11:24

Share:

Joe Launchbury London Wasps 2012

Locking in: Joe Launchbury

Andrea Masi, Joe Launchbury, Tom Lindsay and Zak Taulafo all start this weekend as Wasps make four changes for their Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens at Adams Park.

All four made a huge impact off the bench last weekend in a narrow defeat to Northampton - the first league loss for Wasps this season at home.

There are also bench returns for Charlie Davies and Jonathan Poff. James Haskell has been ruled out with a sore knee.

London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said he was expecting another hugely physical challenge this weekend.

"We'll be tested in the physical stakes that's for sure but we've worked very hard this week in training and if we can front up we know we're a match for any side. Saracens aren't top of the table by accident and they are full of quality so this will be a real test," he said.

Meanwhile, Charlie Hodgson starts at fly-half for Saracens with Owen Farrell named at inside centre and Brad Barritt is rested.

John Smit, Petrus du Plessis, Mouritz Botha and Jackson Wray all come into the side on rotation for Schalk Brits, Matt Stevens, Alistair Hargreaves and Kelly Brown.

Neil de Kock switches places with Richard Wigglesworth to start at scrum-half while Chris Wyles comes into the starting XV on the wing with David Strettle on the bench.

It's on the bench that one name makes a welcome return with Jacques Burger back in action after more than a year out through injury. The flanker played 40 minutes for Bedford Blues earlier this month and continues his return from the knee injury that has kept him out since December 2011.

Form: It's now three straight losses in the Aviva Premiership for Wasps while last weekend's last-gasp reversal against Northampton saw their unbeaten run in the league this season at Adams' Park also end. Wasps are sixth seven points adrift of fourth-placed Northampton in the Aviva Premiership table and just four ahead of seventh-placed Bath Rugby as they look to earn a Heineken Cup spot for next season. Saracens have risen to the top of the Aviva Premiership table courtesy of their current form, which is the best in the tournament, netting them 23 points from their last six games. Wasps' only victory in their last five contests with Saracens was 20-15 in the Twickenham double header on the opening weekend of last season. Saracens have been victorious on their last two visits to Adams Park.

The teams:

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

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 David Strettle.

Date: Saturday, 30 March
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 15:00
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Ashley Rowden

  • Aviva Prem Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Preview
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs WaspsExeter vs Wasps Preview
London Irish vs BathLondon Irish vs Bath Preview
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
  • Aviva Prem Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
Sunday , October 12
Wasps 29 - 22 Bath
Saturday , October 11
London Welsh 3 - 23 Newcastle
Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester
Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Aviva Prem Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720