Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Bayonne

11th December 2009 09:38

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Benjamin Fall on debut v samoa

On the wing: Benjamin Fall

Bayonne have rolled out their big guns against Wasps for what is a huge chance to put one foot into the Amlin Challenge Cup knockout stages.

Despite languishing at the wrong of the Top 14 standings, the French currently top matters in Europe ahead of neighbours Racing Metro and the Adams Park outfit.

And they have subsequently decided to focus on Saturday's fixture, with Pepito Elhorga, Benjamin Fall, Craig Gower and Rémy Martin all starting.

Meanwhile Wasps Director of Rugby Tony Hanks has made four changes to the starting line-up that secured victory over Leicester last Sunday.

These include the return of Samoan International David Lemi, back on the wing after the November Tests and illness which ruled him out of the Tigers fixture.

Aware of the importance of the back to back games, which will go along way towards qualifying for the Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter Finals, Hanks expects a highly competitive game against the Pool Four leaders.

"While Bayonne haven't had the domestic results they would have wanted, we know that they are a strong side, capable of competing with the best in France," he said.

"Like us they just missed out on qualification in the Heineken Cup last season so they will have a point to prove.

"Based on the comments of their captain Remy Martin this week we know they are taking it seriously and as the top two teams of the Pool these back to back fixtures are vital for both teams if they want to progress."

"We are conscious of the fact we have three games in 11 days and we want to ensure we get the best out of everyone during the tight turnaround.

"With this in mind, we are able to give Simon Shaw and Paul Sackey an opportunity to come off the bench, and are fortunate to have such depth in the squad that quality players like Lemi and George Skivington come straight into the starting line up.

"There is a real strength throughout the bench this weekend and everyone will play their part over the next three games."

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 David Lemi, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Dan Ward-Smith, 7 Serge Betsen (c), 6 John Hart, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 George Skivington, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements:16 Rob Webber, 17 Gabriel Bocca, 18 Bob Baker, 19 Simon Shaw, 20 Mark Robinson, 21 Danny Cipriani, 22 Ben Jacobs, 23 Paul Sackey.

Bayonne: 15 Pepito Elhorga, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Thibault Lacroix, 12 Vincent Inigo, 11 Filimoni Bolovucu, 10 Craig Gower, 9 Cedric Garcia, 8 Jacques Deen, 7 Guillaume Bernad, 6 Rémy Martin, 5 Nicolas Laffite, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Renaud Boyoud, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Aretz Iguiniz.
Replacements: 16 Francois Da Ros, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Denis Avril, 19 Mikaera Tewhata, 20 Jean-Jo Marmouyet, 21 Mickael Lopez-Herrero, 22 Manny Edmonds, 23 Clement Lagain.

Date: Saturday, December 12
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Iain Heard (Scotland), Alan Forrest (Scotland)
Assessor: Brian Stirling (Ireland)

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