WASPS TEAM TO PLAY HARLEQUINS
Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has named his team to take on Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday (2pm kick off), in Round 14 of the Aviva Premiership.
Wasps are boosted by the return of Welsh lock Bradley Davies, who is named in the starting line-up, having been released back to the Club by Wales before their RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland.
There are also returns for England Saxons Joe Simpson, Christian Wade, Matt Mullan and James Gaskell after a week off during the LV=Cup, who join fellow Saxons Elliot Daly and Jake Cooper-Woolley in the side.
James Downey, who arrived this week on loan from Glasgow Warriors for the remainder of the season, is set to make his Wasps debut in the centre, alongside Elliot Daly. Downey arrives as injury cover for Chris Bell and Alapati Leiua.
Thomas Young, Ed Jackson and Will Helu retain their places in the side after impressing in the LV=Cup, with Helu moving from the centre to the wing.
Dai Young said: “We are looking forward to a return to the Aviva Premiership this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena and we all know how important the next block of games is. We have worked really hard to get ourselves into a pretty reasonable position, sitting in fourth spot in the league table, at this time of year.
“I believe the next month, starting today against Quins, will determine whether we cement ourselves in the top six, or whether we end up chasing our tails towards the end of the season.
“It’s so tight that two losses and you could end up in 9th or 10th position in the table, two wins and you could cement yourselves in the top four or five.
“We’ve already played Quins three times this season and we expect another intense match. Both clubs know how important this game is.
“Results have probably gone against the grain in the last three encounters. They beat us at The Stoop in the league and Adams Park in Europe, but then we went to the Stoop and won there in our European match, so it shows how close these games are between the two sides.
“It’s very much about the performance on the day. The team who is in the best position emotionally on the day and makes less mistakes tend to come out on top, regardless of whether it’s home or away.
“We’re unbeaten at the Ricoh in the league and Europe and we are determined to turn the Ricoh into a fortress. The only way to continue building that fortress mentality is to carry on winning. So it’s up to us to put in a performance we can be proud of, to get the result we want.”
Unavailable for selection through injury are Phil Swainston, John Yapp, Joe Launchbury, Sam Jones, Charlie Davies, Jack Moates, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Chris Bell, Ben Jacobs, Josh Bassett, with Ashley Johnson suspended and James Haskell and Andrea Masi away on international duty.