Cooper-Woolley starts as Wasps prepare for Chiefs trip

Date: 12 Apr 2019

Jake Cooper-Woolley is the only change to the starting 15 that defeated Worcester Warriors last weekend, as Wasps take on top-of-the-table Exeter Chiefs in Round 19 of the Gallagher Premiership at Sandy Park on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

The tighthead steps in for Will Stuart (ankle sprain) while Kieran Brookes returns to the first-team squad among the replacements for the first time since injuring his ankle in December’s Round 10 clash with Bath Rugby.

Cooper-Woolley starts in the front row with hooker Tom Cruse and loosehead Zurabi Zhvania while Joe Launchbury skippers the side from the second row next to James Gaskell.

An all-international back row sees Brad Shields, Nizaam Carr and Nathan Hughes link up while Joe Simpson and Lima Sopoaga continue their half-back partnership.

Gaby Lovobalavu and Elliot Daly start in the centres with Willie Le Roux, Josh Bassett and the in-form Marcus Watson in the back three – the latter of whom has scored four tries in his last four appearances.

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “If results don't go your way you could still be in a fight at the bottom but we want to push on from last week’s performance and now we have the two best teams in the league coming up.

“If we get things right on the day at Exeter then there's no reason why we can't get a result. We need to get results no matter who we’re playing and it will be a real reflection of where we are at.

“If we’re not at our best it could be a horrible afternoon. We saw what they did to Leicester Tigers last week.

“We know what a quality team they are and we know what’s coming our way. They have a fantastic driving lineout, probably the best in Europe.

“They have a real big scrum but I also think they’ve added a lot to their attacking game over the last couple of months. They have some real good options off phase-plays which can carve you up as well.”

Wasps team to face Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Sunday 14 April (kick-off 3pm)

Wasps (First-team appearances)
15 Willie Le Roux (52)
14 Marcus Watson (25)
13 Elliot Daly (190)
12 Gaby Lovobalavu (31)
11 Josh Bassett (101)
10 Lima Sopoaga (21)
9 Joe Simpson (253)
1 Zurabi Zhvania (20)
2 Tom Cruse (59)
3 Jake Cooper-Woolley (127)
4 Joe Launchbury (c) (137)
5 James Gaskell (106)
6 Brad Shields (11)
7 Nizaam Carr (33)
8 Nathan Hughes (121)

16 Ashley Johnson (183)
17 Simon McIntyre (155)
18 Kieran Brookes (14)
19 Will Rowlands (72)
20 Ben Morris (17)
21 Craig Hampson (30)
22 Rob Miller (100)
23 Juan de Jongh (45)