Planet Rugby

Preview: London Wasps v Saracens

29th March 2013 11:24

Share:

Joe Launchbury London Wasps 2012

Locking in: Joe Launchbury

Andrea Masi, Joe Launchbury, Tom Lindsay and Zak Taulafo all start this weekend as Wasps make four changes for their Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens at Adams Park.

All four made a huge impact off the bench last weekend in a narrow defeat to Northampton - the first league loss for Wasps this season at home.

There are also bench returns for Charlie Davies and Jonathan Poff. James Haskell has been ruled out with a sore knee.

London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said he was expecting another hugely physical challenge this weekend.

"We'll be tested in the physical stakes that's for sure but we've worked very hard this week in training and if we can front up we know we're a match for any side. Saracens aren't top of the table by accident and they are full of quality so this will be a real test," he said.

Meanwhile, Charlie Hodgson starts at fly-half for Saracens with Owen Farrell named at inside centre and Brad Barritt is rested.

John Smit, Petrus du Plessis, Mouritz Botha and Jackson Wray all come into the side on rotation for Schalk Brits, Matt Stevens, Alistair Hargreaves and Kelly Brown.

Neil de Kock switches places with Richard Wigglesworth to start at scrum-half while Chris Wyles comes into the starting XV on the wing with David Strettle on the bench.

It's on the bench that one name makes a welcome return with Jacques Burger back in action after more than a year out through injury. The flanker played 40 minutes for Bedford Blues earlier this month and continues his return from the knee injury that has kept him out since December 2011.

Form: It's now three straight losses in the Aviva Premiership for Wasps while last weekend's last-gasp reversal against Northampton saw their unbeaten run in the league this season at Adams' Park also end. Wasps are sixth seven points adrift of fourth-placed Northampton in the Aviva Premiership table and just four ahead of seventh-placed Bath Rugby as they look to earn a Heineken Cup spot for next season. Saracens have risen to the top of the Aviva Premiership table courtesy of their current form, which is the best in the tournament, netting them 23 points from their last six games. Wasps' only victory in their last five contests with Saracens was 20-15 in the Twickenham double header on the opening weekend of last season. Saracens have been victorious on their last two visits to Adams Park.

The teams:

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

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 David Strettle.

Date: Saturday, 30 March
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 15:00
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Ashley Rowden

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058