Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Leicester

25th October 2013 12:47

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wasps v leicester christian wade

Jet shoes: Christian Wade

Elliot Daly, Tom Palmer and Ashley Johnson return to the London Wasps starting side for Sunday's Premiership clash with Leicester Tigers.

Ben Jacobs is given the nod in the centres for the Adams Park fixture, partnering Captain Chris Bell, while Christian Wade returns from his time away with England to take his place on the wing.

London Wasps host the reigning Aviva Premiership champions with a proud record of victories against Tigers at Adams Park going back to 2007.

"The players know that they are in for a tough challenge on Sunday afternoon but after two good wins in Europe there is a lot of confidence going back into domestic action," Director of Rugby Dai Young told the Waspswebsite.

"At this stage of the season the table can change overnight and a win for us would see us shoot up the table. Both sides will be fighting tooth and nail for the points on offer and we know that we will have to be at our most accurate to come out on top."

Meanwhile, Leicester Tigers welcome back Marcos Ayerza from international duty and hand first starts to Owen Williams and Terrence Hepetema.

Ayerza makes his first club appearance since the European quarter-final in Toulon last April as Tigers travel to Adams Park.

Williams comes in at fly-half and Hepetema makes his Aviva Premiership debut after two appearances as a replacement in Europe.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill, who returns to matchday duties at the end of his nine-game ban, selects Neil Briggs at hooker, David Mélé at scrum-half and brings Jamie Gibson in to the back row. There are also positional switches for Ed Slater and Logovi'i Mulipola.

Pablo Matera, the Argentina international back-rower signed following the loss of Tom Croft due a long-term knee injury, is included in the matchday squad for the first time.

Vereniki Goneva is sidelined after pulling a calf muscle in last week's win over Benetton Treviso and Graham Kitchener is also ruled out this week.

Also unavailable due to injury are Anthony Allen, Gonzalo Camacho, Tom Croft, Scott Hamilton, Rob Hawkins, Ryan Lamb, Steve Mafi, Matt Smith, Scott Steele, Mathew Tait and Manu Tuilagi.

Dan Cole, Toby Flood, Geoff Parling, and Ben and Tom Youngs are retained by the England squad.

Form: London Wasps have won three of their last four matches in all competitions, but in Aviva Premiership Rugby the Londoners have managed only one win in their last twelve games: 32-16 at home to Worcester in round 4.

Leicester Tigers have lost just once in the Premiership since April: 27-20 at Bath in round 2. The Tigers have tallied at least one league point from every game in the competition since round four last season. The last 10 encounters between the two clubs since September 2008 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Leicester have not been victorious at Adams Park since 30th September 2007.

The teams:

London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Chris Bell (capt), 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5Kearnan Myall, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 James Haskell, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Charlie Hayter

Leicester Tigers: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Terrence Hepetema, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Owen Williams, 9 David Mélé, 9 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Louis Decaon (capt), 3 Logovi'I Mulipola, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements:16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Pablo Matera, 22 Miles Benjamin, 23 Sam Harrison

Date: Sunday, October 27th
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 14:00 (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Roger Baileff
TMO: Geoff Warren

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PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954