4th September 2015
Wasps team to face Samoa on Saturday
Dai Young has named his Wasps’ squad to take on Manu Samoa at the Ricoh Arena this Saturday. It’s a 1630 kick-off to enable fans to watch England against Ireland on big screens in the Jaguar Hall before Wasps’ game, as the international sides play their final Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture.
Young’s squad features six new signings who will be making their full Wasps’ debut, with Alex Rieder, Brendan Macken, Dan Robson, George Smith, Jimmy Gopperth and Tom Bristow the new faces, lining up for the first time in a full 15 a side match at the Ricoh Arena.
Ian Williams joins Wasps on loan from Oxford University for this pre-season friendly, as injury cover for props Jake Cooper-Woolley, Phil Swainston and James Johnston, while Lorenzo Cittadini is with Italy for the Rugby World Cup.
Matt Mullan will lead the team and is looking forward to Wasps’ first full pre-season fixture, against international opposition, having watched the 7s squad in action last week.
“It was fun watching the Singha 7s, particularly in the group stage at the Ricoh Arena, cheering the boys on,” he said. “Unfortunately they didn’t quite get the result they wanted in the Final at the Stoop, which was disappointing because they played so well.
“The good thing in rugby is you get an opportunity to move on a week later and now all our focus is on Samoa at the Ricoh Arena this Saturday.
“Samoa are a physical team whenever you meet them, whether you catch them with a week’s preparation or a few months of rugby under the belt.
“They are coming into this match on the back of the Pacific Nations Cup and they were really impressive against the All Blacks recently, before taking on the Barbarians last weekend, so they will be very well organised.
“This is our first 15s game of the season, with six weeks to go before our first Premiership game, so it will be about preparing mentally as much as anything.
“We’ve had a couple of lively training sessions, with a few big hits going in, getting the bodies and minds ready for one of the most physical sides in world rugby.
“Samoa will want to put in a really good performance before they head into their Rugby World Cup campaign, so we know we are in for a massive challenge, but it’s the kind of challenge you relish.
“It isn’t often that you have a chance to take on an international side while playing for your club, so the boys are really looking forward to testing themselves against some of the toughest opponents in the game. We know from playing against a number of the Samoan players in the Premiership and Europe that they have threats throughout their squad.
“We’ll be focussing on what we’ve covered so far during pre-season and making sure we impress in those areas, before being able to move on to the next phase of pre-season.
“We’ve been doing lots of weights, a lot of running and a lot of skills work, but this is our first hit out and we’re all really excited about getting out on the pitch and having the chance to put into practice what we’ve worked on so far in pre- season.”
Mullan and the squad are also hoping for another big crowd, as sports fans in the area have chance to watch the Samoan team that will be competing against Scotland, South Africa, Japan and USA when the Rugby World Cup kicks off in a couple of weeks’ time:
“Whenever we’re in Coventry, whether it’s for an open training session or a match, the support has been fantastic and hopefully it will be just as vocal again this Saturday. It’s a great opportunity for families to come down and enjoy international rugby on the doorstep.”
Tickets are available from the Ricoh Arena Ticket Office today and tomorrow, online here or by calling 02476 786 411
15. Rob Miller
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Ben Jacobs
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Joe Simpson
1. Matt Mullan ©
2. Carlo Festuccia
3. Simon McIntyre
4. James Cannon
5. James Gaskell
6. Sam Jones
7. George Smith
8. Nathan Hughes
16. Ashley Johnson
17. Tom Bristow
18. Ian Williams
19. Will Rowlands
20. Guy Thompson
21. Thomas Young
22. Alex Rieder
23. Dan Robson
24. Alex Lozowski
25. Brendan Macken
26. James Downey