Preview: Harlequins v Wasps

Date published: October 15 2015

Two veteran Wallabies will face off in this London derby as James Horwill and George Smith make their debuts for Harlequins and Wasps respectively.

Horwill is joined by British and Irish Lion Adam Jones and number eight Mat Luamanu in making his debut for Quins at the Stoop.

Smith starts for Wasps at openside while Jimmy Gopperth and Brendan Macken also make their debuts in the backline.

Quins have also brought England trio Joe Marler, Nick Easter and Mike Brown onto the bench a week after their final World Cup game against Uruguay.

Club captain Danny Care suffered a back spasm following that game and was not considered for selection. Care, alongside Chris Robshaw, will be available for selection next week for the trip to Leicester Tigers.

Meanwhile Dai Young is expecting a tough game for his Wasps, with the two sides having played out plenty of thrilling encounters in recent seasons.

"Quins versus Wasps games are always nail-biting, nervy encounters, which tend to go down to the wire," said Wasps' director of rugby.

"Both teams like to play attractive, ball in hand, attacking rugby. They’re normally pretty high-scoring games and not ones that defence coaches always enjoy! 

"Both teams' defence coaches tend to be pulling their hair out and both Conor (O'Shea) and myself often end up biting our nails to the core because it’s normally nip and tuck."

Form: Harlequins' only defeat on the opening weekend of a Aviva Premiership season since 2006 was to Wasps in the London Double Header in 2009. Quins finished off the 2014/15 campaign with a pair of defeats, at home to Bath and away at Newcastle Falcons. Wasps have not been victorious in round 1 since beating Saracens 20-15 at Twickenham in 2011. Wasps were winless in their final two encounters of Aviva Premiership Rugby last season, going down 21-26 to Leicester in Coventry and drawing 40-all with London Irish at Reading. The two clubs clashed for times last season, with each side winning its respective home game in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but the away side triumphant in the two European Champions Cup encounters. Wasps have won just once at the Twickenham Stoop in Premiership Rugby since March 2007: 17-16 on 9th February 2013.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 George Lowe, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans (c), 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 James Horwill, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Nick Easter, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Mike Brown.

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Brendan Macken, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 Sam Jones, 5 James Gaskell, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Date: Friday, October 16
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Simon McConnell
Television match official: Sean Davey
Timekeeper: Robert Ockenden
Assessor: Brian Campsall