Wasps team to face Bristol Bears as Gallagher Premiership Rugby returns

Date: 20 Nov 2020

 

Lee Blackett has named his first Wasps side of the new Gallagher Premiership 2020/21 season to play Bristol Bears at Ricoh Arena on Sunday. 

Jack Willis and Jacob Umaga return from international duty with England to take their places on the blindside flank and at fly-half respectively.

Joe Launchbury, Dan Robson, Will Rowlands and Matteo Minozzi are still away with their national teams. With club-captain Launchbury starting for England, Thomas Young is named as captain at openside flanker.

Ben Vellacott and Lima Sopoaga are the only changes to the backline that played in the Premiership Final four weeks ago, replacing Robson and Minozzi. Malakai Fekitoa remains absent with a shoulder injury.

In the pack Tim Cardall and James Gaskell form the second-row pairing in the absence of Launchbury and Rowlands.

Brad Shields, Kieran Brookes, Simon McIntyre and Alfie Barbeary all return to the matchday 23, having missed out on the final due to COVID contact tracing protocols.

Wasps Head Coach, Lee Blackett, said: “The boys have had a little bit of time off and they've come back and trained extremely well. We’ve been really pleased with the attitude and desire of the players to get better each day since their return.”

“The boys needed that time off. It may take a few weeks till we will be at our 100 per cent best, but even with just five main sessions we should hopefully be pretty close come the weekend.” 

“You look at teams when they've got to finals and where they are the following year, especially losing finalists, seem to struggle early on. We've put a lot of focus back on our confidence and attitude that got us to a final, we will be focused on that from the start.”

Wasps team to face Bristol Bears at Ricoh Arena on Sunday in Gallagher Premiership Round One (kick-off 1:00pm)

Wasps (First-team appearances)

15 Lima Sopoaga (43)

14 Zach Kibirige (26)

13 Juan de Jongh (59)

12 Jimmy Gopperth (106)

11 Josh Bassett (127)

10 Jacob Umaga (31)

9 Ben Vellacott (8)

1 Simon McIntyre (172)

2 Tommy Taylor (71)

3 Kieran Brookes (41)

4 Tim Cardall (19)

5 James Gaskell (121)

6 Jack Willis (62)

7 Thomas Young (C) (120)

8 Brad Shields (34)

 

Replacements

16 Tom Cruse (83)

17 Tom West (34)

18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen (21)

19 Levi Douglas (1)

20 Alfie Barbeary (6)

21 Tom Willis (22)

22 Sam Wolstenholme (11)

23 Paolo Odogwu (8)