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 , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
Saturday , May 3
Saracens vs Worcester15:00
Bath vs Northampton15:00
Wasps vs Newcastle15:00
Exeter vs Harlequins15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
  • Aviva Prem Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
Sunday , March 30
Newcastle 12 - 17 WorcesterNewcastle vs Worcester Report
Saturday , March 29
Exeter 13 - 14 GloucesterExeter vs Gloucester Report
Harlequins 23 - 9 London IrishHarlequins vs London Irish Report
Wasps 20 - 32 SaracensWasps vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Aviva Prem Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954