Preview: Wasps v Harlequins

Date published: October 24 2014

Wasps and Harlequins will meet for the second time in a month when they battle it out in their European Champions Cup clash on Sunday.

Wasps and Harlequins will meet for the second time in a month when they go toe-to-toe in the European Champions Cup at Adams Park on Sunday.

At the end of September it was Harlequins who narrowly emerged victorious, edging out their visitors 23-20, but this time it’s Wasps at home.

Dai Young’s men looked set to pull off a stunning away victory at Leinster when they burst into a 20-11 half-time lead, but they let it slip away when they conceded two quick-fire second-half tries.

Still, they did pick up a bonus-point in Dublin, and a win over Quins would leave them well-placed before a December double header with Castres.

Quins have already seen what it takes to beat the French side, and they were clinical in the competition’s inaugural game which was tighter than the 25-9 scoreline suggests.

It was an important win for Conor O’Shea’s side though, who have not quite found their best form in the early stages of the season, and a second success against their London rivals, for now, would leave them in great position before returning to domestic action.

And O’Shea is optimistic that the win over Castres will act as a springboard for his team.

“We haven’t been buzzing recently, but it won’t take much to get the team buzzing again,” O’Shea said.

“That was control (against Castres), we were really ambitious with the way we played in that first half.

“That was not a weak Castres front five, but our scrum and line-out were excellent.

“We have a long way to go, we know that, but this was a real step forward.”

For Wasps, there will be no James Haskell again as he continues to recover from a virus that has kept him in hospital, but Joe Launchbury will be available.

The lock signed a new deal this week in a huge boost ahead of their move to Coventry.

In teams news, Tom Varndell returns to the wing, while Sam Jones starts at openside in the absence of flank Haskell, who is still recovering from the virus that ruled him out last week.

Meanwhile, there is just one change to the Quins side that beat Castres Olympique as Kyle Sinckler starts at tighthead, rotating with Will Collier who is named among the replacements.

Form: The teams met in September in the Premiership when Harlequins won 26-23 at the Stoop. Quins also won both games between the two sides last season, edging home by a single point on both occasions. Wasps are unbeaten at home so far this season while Harlequins’ only away win came in the London Double Header when they beat London Irish.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliott Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Tom Young, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Chris Bell.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 George Lowe, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler (c).
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Jordan Turner-Hall, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Date: Sunday, October 26
Kick-off: 17:15 BST
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Stefano Penn