WASPS VS LEINSTER RUGBY
Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his squad to take on Leinster Rugby at the Ricoh Arena this Saturday, kick off 1pm, as both teams go head-to-head for a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter finals.
There are only two changes to the side that beat Harlequins at the Stoop last Saturday, with James Gaskell starting in the second row in place of Kearnan Myall, who picked up a bump last weekend but is fit to come off the bench.
Ben Jacobs starts in the centre alongside Elliot Daly, after Alapati Leiua injured his knee against Harlequins. Daly, who is set to make his 100th appearance for Wasps, will again be back-up scrum half as all other nines at the Club are out through injury. Two back-rows are named on the bench in Ed Jackson and Guy Thompson.
The following players are unavailable for selection due to injury:
Chris Bell (shoulder), Tom Bliss (pelvis/groin), Charlie Davies (calf), Will Helu (ankle), Ruaridh Jackson (ACL), Sam Jones (concussion), Joe Launchbury (neck), Alapati Leiua (knee), Jack Moates (hamstring), Sailosi Tagicakibau (hamstring), John Yapp (calf), Thomas Young (ankle).
Ahead of the game, Dai Young said: “It doesn’t get much more exciting than this in club rugby – a knock-out game against one of the most successful sides in Europe for a place in the European quarter finals.
“It’s the biggest game of our season so far and with over 22,000 expected at the Ricoh Arena tomorrow, it’s set to be a fantastic occasion for everyone involved; players, coaches, staff and supporters.
“We have had incredible attendances since moving to the Ricoh Arena and such a vocal crowd makes a huge difference to the squad. We feel a responsibility to keep our performances on the field up to standard, to match the support we are receiving off the field.
“Having lost our first two European pool games, few people would have predicted Wasps being in a position to qualify for the quarter finals, but that’s the opportunity ahead of us, after the players showed tremendous character and will to win against Harlequins at the Stoop.
“It will undoubtedly be the greatest challenge of our season to date, against a quality team which is full of internationals who are experienced at this level, having been crowned European Champions three times.
“We are very respectful of what Leinster Rugby have achieved, but we also know it’s a one-off, winner-takes-all game, with a place in the European Quarter Finals at stake.
“Tomorrow’s game will be as close as you get to Test Match rugby at club level. It’s a huge opportunity for players to show everyone they can compete on the big stage. There is no shortage of motivation and you can be sure that nothing will be left out on the pitch.”
Tickets are available to purchase from the Ricoh Arena Ticket office on Friday 23 January, between 9am and 5pm, and on Saturday morning from 9.30am.
Tickets start from £15 and children under 10 go free with a paying adult.
WASPS TEAM FOR LEINSTER RUGBY
15. Rob Miller
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Ben Jacobs
11. Tom Varndell
10. Andy Goode
9. Joe Simpson
1. Matt Mullan
2. Edd Shervington
3. Lorenzo Cittadini
4. Bradley Davies
5. James Gaskell
6. Ashley Johnson
7. James Haskell (c)
8. Nathan Hughes
16. Carlo Festuccia
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Jake Cooper-Woolley
19. Kearnan Myall
20. Guy Thompson
21. Ed Jackson
22. Alex Lozowski
23. Andrea Masi