Winger Zach Kibirige and Academy forward Thibaud Flament will make their Wasps debuts in the season-opener this Saturday, as Dai Young’s side welcome Saracens to Ricoh Arena in the Premiership Rugby Cup (kick-off 1pm).
The pair both impressed at last weekend’s Premiership Rugby 7s and will make their 15s debuts for the Club this weekend.
Meanwhile, new signings Jack Owlett, Sam Wolstenholme and Sione Vailanu could also make their Wasps debuts from the bench – with Tonga international Vailanu only having joined up with the Club last week after training with his country over the summer months.
Dan Robson will skipper the side in a backline that sees the return of the experienced Jimmy Gopperth, with the Kiwi returning from successive injuries that restricted him to just one appearance last term. He will be partnered by Ross Neal in the centres.
The backline also sees Academy graduate Jacob Umaga named at fly-half, following his 7s record-breaking points-tally last weekend where he accrued 61 points at the tournament, as Wasps reached the final for the sixth successive time.
Pacey winger Callum Sirker, who ran in an incredible eight tries last weekend, starts on the left wing with Club centurion Rob Miller at full-back. Kibirige is named on the right flank.
In the pack, Ben Harris, Tommy Taylor and Kieran Brookes occupy the front row with summer Academy graduate Tim Cardall partnering Charlie Matthews in the second row.
In the back row, Alex Rieder makes his return to first-team action for the first time since February 2018 following injury setbacks, where he’ll be joined by Ben Morris and Frenchman Flament.
Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “We’ve picked a side that we think can go out there to win but we’re under no illusions of the task that stands in our way.
“Saracens are well-renowned for the young talent they bring through their ranks while they also have strength in depth so it’s going to be a great test to kick off the season.
“We want to start the season positively in front of our home faithful and after a long pre-season, the players are certainly hungry to get out there and show what they can do.”
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