Preview: Wasps v London Irish

24th Jan 2014, 15:24

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First outing: Chris Hala'ufia

First outing: Chris Hala'ufia

Chris Hala'ufia will make his first start of 2014 as he returns to the London Irish back-row against London Wasps.


Chris Hala'ufia will make his first start of 2014 as he returns to the London Irish back-row against London Wasps.

Jebb Sinclair and Kieran Low will join the Tongan number eight in the back-row with Nic Rouse and Bryn Evans forming the second row combination for the third week in a row. John Yapp, Mike Mayhew and Leo Halavatau make up the front row.

Tomás O'Leary and Shane Geraghty will again partner at half-back with Guy Armitage and Fergus Mulchrone in the centre. Sailosi Tagicakibau, Topsy Ojo and Tom Homer make up the back three.

"We have made a few changes to the side for tomorrow's match but we want to maintain the momentum we have gathered over the last few weeks," said Exiles boss Brian Smith.

"It is also a chance for us to look at players returning from injury as we lead back into the Aviva Premiership."

Meanwhile, Charlie Davies captains Wasps at Adams Park.

Dai Young's side sees a number of changes. Up front Taione Vea and Will Taylor prop down with Tom Lindsay at hooker. Esteban Lozada and James Cannon form the second-row partnership, while Ed Jackson, Matt Everard and Rory Pitman make up the back-row.

In the backs, Charlie Davies starts at scrum-half, captaining the side, and links up with Joe Carlisle at ten. In the centres Andrew Suniula is joined by Will Helu, with Josh Bassett and Tom Howe on the wings and Tommy Bell at full-back.

There is a notable inclusion on the bench, where Andrea Masi makes his return from injury to take his place among the replacements.

There are some less familiar faces, with Will Rowlands, who is a member of the London Wasps Academy and is at Oxford University, named among the substitutes alongside loanees Kevin Davies and Matt Heeks, from London Welsh and Roslyn Park respectively.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Will Helu, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Charlie Davies (c), 8 Rory Pittman, 7 Matt Everard, 6 Ed Jackson, 5 James Cannon, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Will Taylor, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Taione Vea.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Davies, 17 Ricky Reeves, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Matt Heeks, 22 Andrea Masi, 23 Charlie Hayter.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Guy Armitage, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 Mike Mayhew, John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Gerard Ellis, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Andrew Fenby, 22 Myles Dorrian, 23 Sean Kennedy.

Referee: Darren Gamage (England)
Assistant referees: Simon Mcconnell (England), Stuart Terheege (England)
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet (England)