Planet Rugby

Preview: London Wasps v Gloucester

18th April 2014 13:17

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Tom Varndell in new Wasps jersey

Back in action: Tom Varndell

England winger Tom Varndell returns to the London Wasps starting lineup for Saturday's clash with Gloucester at Twickenham.

Wasps boss Dai Young welcomes back Varndell after a three month injury lay-off, having recovered from a bicep tear.

There is also a return to action in the back-row for Ashley Johnson, after three weeks out with a fractured cheekbone.

Andrea Masi, Joe Simpson, Jake Cooper-Woolley and Kearnan Myall have all recovered from knocks to make the starting lineup, while Joe Launchbury and James Haskell also start after being rested last weekend.

Meanwhile, the Cherry and Whites make one injury enforced change in the backline for Saturday's clash. Henry Trinder tweaked a hamstring last weekend against Bath, so Jonny May lines up at outside centre, Martyn Thomas moves to the left wing and Rob Cook comes in at full-back.

In the pack, Huia Edmonds takes over at hooker from Dan George and James Hudson replaces Will James in the second-row.

The final change sees Ben Morgan back at number eight, with Gareth Evans sidelined having injured his knee in the challenge that saw Bath's Matt Garvey yellow carded just before half time last week.

Amongst the replacements, Dan Robson returns having missed the last three matches with a hamstring injury, and there is a call up for Australian Bill Meakes, who has made one previous first team appearance - as a replacement against Wasps in the LV= Cup.

The European meeting went the way of Wasps, and Gloucester's Director of Rugby Nigel Davies stated his week that his team will be using that match for motivation.

"We're still hurting from that performance quite frankly. We did have a reaction from that against Bath, but that feeling of disappointment and anger has not gone away," said Davies.

"But we're only three points away from 7th position. The three games that we have left are opportunities without a shadow of a doubt, starting with Saturday.

"We're looking forward to going to Twickenham, it's a great venue, a fantastic place to play. It's a big pitch which will suit us, but the key is to take a lot of the hurt from the first performance and channel that positively this weekend.

"It'll be a great occasion, it's a fabulous stadium. The boys are very excited about that opportunity, and we're looking forward to having another crack at Wasps. Those two factors are huge for us in making sure we're in the right frame of mind for Saturday."

Form: London Wasps have won only one of their last seven Premiership fixtures: 13-11 over Worcester at Sixways in round 17. Wasps have won just one of their last six visits to Twickenham: 20-15 over Saracens in the London double-header in 2011.

Gloucester have been defeated in their last two matches, 24-36 against Wasps at Adams Park in the quarter final of the Challenge Cup and at home to Bath in the Premiership. Gloucester have lost on their last four visits to Twickenham since beating Northampton there in the final of the Powergen Cup in April 2003.

The two sides have already met on three occasions this season in all tournaments with the Londoners having the slight edge by two wins to one. Gloucester's only victory in their last four encounters with Wasps in the Premiership was 29-22 at Kingsholm in September 2012.

The teams:

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

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Jonny May, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Martyn Thomas, 10 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Lua Lokotui, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Bill Meakes

Date: Saturday 19th April
Venue: Twickenham
Kick-off: 1515 local, 1415 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Roger Baileff
TMO: David Grashoff

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