Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Saracens

07th November 2013 12:53

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SKY_MOBILE James Haskell Wasps

James Haskell: Wasps skipper

Former England flanker James Haskell will captain London Wasps in Friday's LV= Cup clash against Saracens at Adams Park.

Haskell leads a much changed Wasps line-up which combines a mix of experience and youth for the first LV=Cup game of the season.

Up front Ricky Reeves, Tom Lindsay and Will Taylor form the front row, while there's an experienced second row partnership of Tom Palmer and James Cannon. Guy Thompson makes his first appearance at number eight for the club with Haskell and Matt Everard on the flank.

The back-line features Elliot Daly starting at outside centre for the first time this season, while Jonah Holmes returns temporarily from his loan spell at Leeds Carnegie to start on the wing.

The Wasps bench includes Alex Lundberg, the 18-year-old prop who joined Wasps as a six-year-old and who has come through the club ranks and into the current Academy. He is set to make his first ever appearance for the senior side.

Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young said: "As you can see from our squad, we don't have the kind of depth to treat this competition as a development tool, even if we wanted to, so we've got a good mix of experience in there.

"There are guys who needed a rest this week and guys who really needed game time so it's a balancing act for us.

"Saracens are probably one of the toughest team in this competition given the depth and quality of their squad and this is going to be a real challenge."

Meanwhile, Nils Mordt will captain Sarries from fly-half. He partners LV= Cup breakthrough of the 2012/13 season nominee Ben Spencer in the halves.

Tim Streather is set to make his first senior start for Saracens in the midfield, whilst Ben Ransom starts against Wasps for the second time this season.

In the pack, Richard Barrington retains his place after an impressive outing against the Newcastle Falcons - he is joined by Jared Saunders and Petrus Du Plessis in the front row.

Mouritz Botha lines up alongside George Kruis at lock, as Justin Melck comes into the starting back-row to join Will Fraser and Jackson Wray.

Saracens coach Alex Sanderson, who will be taking charge of the side on Friday evening, said; "Wasps have had some very impressive results as of late - they're in a rich vein of form so we understand that we are coming up against a side who will be desperate to maintain their momentum - it promises to be battle on Friday."

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Jonah Homes, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 Matt Everard, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 James Cannon, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Will Taylor, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Ricky Reeves.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Alex Lunderg, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Jack Moates, 22 Ben Jacobs, 23 Tom Howe.

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Jack Wilson, 10 Nils Mordt (c), 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Justin Melck, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 George Kruis, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jared Saunders, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Matt Hankin, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 James Short.

Date: Friday, November 8
Kick-off: 19:30
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff (England), Ashley Rowden (England)
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet (England)
Assessor: Clive Leeke (England)

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Group A
LV= Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens416
2Gloucester410
3London Irish46
4Dragons44
Group B
LV= Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter414
2Sale Sharks412
3Cardiff Blues410
4Leicester Tigers49
Group C
LV= Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath419
2Ospreys46
3Harlequins45
4Worcester45
Group D
LV= Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton418
2Newcastle Falcons49
3Scarlets48
4London Wasps45