Preview: Wasps v Newcastle

Date published: September 26 2014

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has made seven changes to his starting XV for Sunday’s clash with Newcastle at Adams Park.

Rob Miller, Sailosi Tagicakibau and Alapati Leiua all get starts in the backline while the changes in the pack see Ed Jackson, James Gaskell, Jake Cooper-Woolley and Carlo Festuccia all get the nod.

From last weekend’s side both Chris Bell and Joe Launchbury are rested, with Tom Lindsay, Lorenzo Cittadini, Nathan Hughes, Christian Wade and Andrea Masi all moving to the bench.

Ahead of the game, Young said: “Newcastle are playing a good, expansive game of rugby, based around a very rugged pack and have been very competitive in their three opening games with, the scorelines not really doing them justice.

“They will be a very tough challenge for us this Sunday. We will have to put right a lot of the things that didn’t go so well last weekend if we want to get a result at Adams Park.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons will field a side with five changes from the team that faced Northampton last weekend.

Alex Tait makes his first appearance of the new term on the wing while Argentine Centre Gonzalo Tiesi also starts for the first time this season.

The inclusion of both names on the team sheet is a positive sign for a team that began this season with a number of players consigned to the bench due to injury.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Ruki Tipuna steps into the side for his first Aviva Premiership start since joining the club from Bristol over the summer.

Elsewhere, Mark Wilson and Sinoti Sinoti both return to the starting line-up after impactful appearances from the Kingston Park bench last weekend.

Versatile Juan Pablo Socino makes his first start of the season at fly-half having moved into the position from centre on a number of occasions since joining the club.

The pack remains largely unchanged, with tighthead Scott Wilson returning to the front row for his second Premiership start alongside Kieran Brookes and Scott Lawson.

Will Welch continues to captain his side from the back row alongside Wilson and Ally Hogg while Calum Green and Dom Barrow return to the second row.

A much changed backline sees only Adam Powell and Simon Hammersley retain their starting positions at centre and full-back respectively, the latter continuing to draw praise during his first season of full-time rugby.

Form: Wasps only victory so far this season was 20-16 at home to champions Northampton in round 2, although they have picked up losing bonus points in both their other Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters. Wasps have won their last two Premiership Rugby matches at Adams Park but have not won three in a row at the venue in the tournament since early 2013. Newcastle Falcons slipped to a 19th successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat at home to Northampton on Sunday, and have not won away from home in the competition since they visited Worcester in round 5 last season. Wasps won both of their fixtures with the Falcons last season, but Newcastle have triumphed on two of their last four visits to Adams Park.

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 John Yapp, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 James Cannon, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Andrea Masi, 23 Christian Wade.

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Juan Pablo Socino, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Calum Green, 3 Scott Wilson, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Kieran Brookes.
Replacements: 16 Alex Rogers, 17 Rob Hawkins, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Alex Tuilagi.

Date: Sunday, September 28
Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Andrew Pearce
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw
Assessor: Martin Fox