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Preview: Wasps v Newcastle

04th May 2012 10:38

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Jimmy Gopperth Newcastle Falcons 2011

Jimmy Gopperth: Key man

Newcastle boss Gary Gold has named an unchanged line-up for his side's must-win Aviva Premiership clash with Wasps on Saturday.

The Falcons need to win, score four or more tries and deny Wasps a losing bonus point to avoid being relegated from the Premiership.

Despite coming up short 9-3 against Saracens last time out, Gold has retained the combination that competed valiantly.

It has been the boot of Jimmy Gopperth that has been the architect of many a Falcons win, but the Kingston Park outfit will need tries - not just points from the Kiwi's boot - if they're to do the business this time around.

"First and foremost we have to win the game and no other factors come into the equation without that," asserted Gold.

"I would be lying if I said [needing to score four tries] was not a factor and it had not changed our approach, but in saying that there has never been a game we have gone into where I have said I don't want us to score four tries," he added.

"We always want to do that, especially given the position we have been in, but the reality is that we are going to have to go down to Wasps and do something we have never done before.

"To be absolutely blunt about it we need to be a hell of a lot better than we have been."

Wasps welcome back skipper Marc Wentzel for the game, with the South African slotting into the second row. Wentzel's return sees Joe Launchbury switch to the back row, with Sam Jones moving into the number seven jersey vacated by the injured Jonathan Poff.

In the back-line, Richard Haughton is named at full-back while Elliot Daly comes into the outside centre position to partner Dom Waldouck in the midfield.

"As I have been saying all week, the focus tomorrow is simply on the winning the game and if we do that everything else will take care of itself," Wasps chief Dai Young told the club's official website.

"I have no doubt Newcastle will come here full of belief they can do the job they need to, so it's up to us to make sure we are in control. I know the boys are very excited about the chance to run out in front of a full-house and our fans will create a wonderful atmosphere."

Form: London Wasps require two points from this game to preserve Premiership Rugby for next season, less could be enough providing they do not suffer a big loss with a margin of over 23 points. Wasps have won just two games in the competition since round seven: versus London Irish and Gloucester. Newcastle Falcons have to win this encounter to give themselves any chance of avoiding relegation. The Falcons have picked up eleven league points from their last five fixtures, with two wins at home to Sale and away at Gloucester. The last three games between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Newcastle's only victory in ten previous visits to Adams Park was 12-6 on 3 January 2010.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Dominic Waldouck, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Vladislav Korshunov, 17 Zac Taulafo, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Ross Filipo, 20 Tinus Du Plessis, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Will Robinson, 23 Chris Mayor.

Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Corne Uys, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Will Welch, 6 Ally Hogg, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jonny Golding.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 James Hall, 19 James Goode, 20 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 21 Mark Wilson, 22 Chris Pilgrim, 23 Tom Catterick

Date: Saturday, May 5
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 14:00 (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Roy Maybank
Television match official: Graham Hughes

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