Neal set for Premiership debut as Wasps host Bristol

Date: 23 Nov 2018



Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young will hand a Gallagher Premiership debut to Ross Neal for Saturday’s Round 8 clash with Bristol Bears at Ricoh Arena (kick-off 1pm).

The 22-year-old back recently impressed in the Premiership Rugby Cup and is rewarded with a start on the right wing with Marcus Watson out with a grade-two groin tear.

Elsewhere in the back three, Rob Miller starts at full back with Josh Bassett on the left wing, who is just three points shy of hitting the 200-mark for the Club. Elliot Daly, Michele Campagnaro and Willie Le Roux remain away on international duty.

Michael Le Bourgeois returns to the starting line-up to partner Juan de Jongh in the centres while Lima Sopoaga is joined by Craig Hampson in the half-back combination, as the latter prepares to face his old employers. Joe Simpson misses out with an ACL injury and is expected to be out for eight weeks.

Ben Harris, Tom Cruse and Jake Cooper-Woolley start in the front row with Simon McIntyre (concussion), Tommy Taylor (concussion), Kieran Brookes (groin) and Will Stuart (neck) on the injury list, and Zurabi Zhvania on international duty with Georgia.

The big pair of Will Rowlands and James Gaskell continue their partnership in the second row.

Ashley Johnson is handed the captain’s armband once again in the back row next to Thomas Young and Academy number eight Tom Willis, while Nizaam Carr misses out with a recurring shoulder knock. Nathan Hughes and Brad Shields are away on England duty as they prepare to take on Australia.

In the replacements, Academy duo Will Porter and David Langley could be handed their first Premiership appearances if they come off the bench.

Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “We’ve got a number of players out but we’ve got enough quality on the field to be playing better than we are at the moment.

“Some of the boys that are playing now have waited patiently for some game-time and this is the period where they have to step up and prove themselves.

“Our go-to has always been our attack and our defence has always been a work-on for us and it continues to be, but we’ve got to get back scoring tries and get some confidence under our belts.

“Bristol will be pretty confident to come and get a job done but first and foremost we have to make sure that we’re a lot better than we were last weekend.”

Wasps (First-team appearances)
15 Rob Miller (91)
14 Ross Neal (3)
13 Juan de Jongh (32)
12 Michael Le Bourgeois (8)
11 Josh Bassett (86)
10 Lima Sopoaga (8)
9 Craig Hampson (20)
1 Ben Harris (28)
2 Tom Cruse (45)
3 Jake Cooper-Woolley (118)
4 Will Rowlands (57)
5 James Gaskell (97)
6 Ashley Johnson (c) (171)
7 Thomas Young (95)
8 Tom Willis (9)

Replacements
16 Antonio Harris (9)
17 Tom West (9)
18 David Langley (2)
19 Kearnan Myall (123)
20 Ben Morris (6)
21 Will Porter (6)
22 Billy Searle (6)
23 Gaby Lovobalavu (20)

Wasps team to face Bristol Bears at Ricoh Arena on Saturday 24 November (kick-off 1pm)

15 Rob Miller
14 Ross Neal
13 Juan de Jongh
12 Michael Le Bourgeois
11 Josh Bassett
10 Lima Sopoaga
9 Craig Hampson
1 Ben Harris
2 Tom Cruse
3 Jake Cooper-Woolley
4 Will Rowlands
5 James Gaskell
6 Ashley Johnson (c)
7 Thomas Young
8 Tom Willis

Replacements
16 Antonio Harris
17 Tom West
18 David Langley
19 Kearnan Myall
20 Ben Morris
21 Will Porter
22 Billy Searle
23 Gaby Lovobalavu