Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Bath

04th January 2013 11:43

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Christian Wade Wasps 2012

Back in: Christian Wade

Wasps have recalled wing Christian Wade and flank James Haskell, while there is a promotion for Stephen Jones for Sunday's clash with Bath.

In a positional switch, Elliot Daly is back at outside centre having featured on the wing and at full-back in the two most recent games.

London Wasps go into the game on good form, with five wins in their last seven games in the Aviva Premiership and a 100 per cent record at Adams Park this season.

However they have already been beaten by Bath this season - 30-23 in September at The Rec - and club captain Hugo Southwell says his side are very wary of the challenge on their hands.

"They beat us earlier this season so they will come up here confident they can get a win," he said.

"They're a very strong side defensively so any chances we get we're going to have to take. We've got nine points from our two games over the festive period so far and we know that another win this weekend would be a huge boost, but we can't expect it to happen - we've got to go out there and really front up."

Meanwhile, Nick Abendanon, Stuart Hooper and Dominic Day all return to the Bath starting line-up this weekend.

Abendanon comes back in at full-back, replacing Ollie Devoto. Horacio Agulla and Tom Biggs continue on the wings, with Matt Banahan and Kyle Eastmond combining in the centres once more. Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens also continue their half-back partnership.

Hooper and Day form a new second-row partnership, with Dave Attwood shifting to the bench. Paul James, Lee Mears and David Wilson are unchanged in the front row, as are Francois Louw, Guy Mercer and Ben Skirving at the back of the pack.

Form: London Wasps have won five of their last seven games in the Aviva Premiership and have climbed from 10th to 5th place in the table in the process. Wasps have won all eight matches played at Adams Park in all competitions this season. Bath drew 12-all at Exeter Chiefs on Saturday - their first tie since they visited Harlequins on 31 October 2010. Bath are without a win in their last three Premiership encounters and have only won on the road once this season in the tournament: 24-23 at Worcester Warriors on 1 September. Wasps have beaten Bath just once in their last four fixtures, whilst Bath's solo victory at Adams Park since 2005 was 27-23 on 1 October 2008.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Cannon, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Andrea Masi.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Kyle Eastmond, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (capt), 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Dan Hipkiss.

Date: Sunday, January 6
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Nigel Carrick
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw

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