Wasps team to play Saracens

Date: 5 Jan 2018


Joe Launchbury has failed to recover from a heavy cold in time to face Saracens at the Ricoh Arena this afternoon.

He is therefore replaced by Will Rowlands, who provides second row support to starting pair James Gaskell and Kearnan Myall.

Ashley Johnson captains Wasps in the much-anticipated clash between the Aviva Premiership’s second and third-placed clubs.

The South African hooker is joined in the front row by Jake Cooper-Woolley and Ben Harris, who makes a first top-flight start in black-and-gold.

The back-row trio that performed so well at Bath is given another chance to impress, as is the back division that shared all of the five tries claimed at the Rec.

Former England under 20 loose head Tom West is in line to make his Premiership debut from a powerful bench which includes experienced quartet Guy Thompson, Marty Moore, Rob Miller and Joe Simpson.

And with confidence in the home camp high following consecutive wins over La Rochelle, Gloucester and Bath, rugby director Dai Young said the squad is keenly anticipating the chance to test itself against the European champions.

“Saracens are a quality team - you don't achieve what they have over the last couple of seasons and have huge weaknesses,” he said.

“We know we have to be at our best but we're looking forward to it. We've had a couple of good wins which has built the belief up, but know this is a big test for us. 

“We have to take the game to them as you're going to come unstuck if you try to sit back and contain them.

“We all know about their legendary defensive line-speed, but I think sometimes you have to run at it. If you take it on you make it hard for it to be really effective, then hopefully we can get some penetration and cause them some problems out wide."  

Wasps team to play Saracens

15. Willie Le Roux
14. Christian Wade
13. Juan De Jongh
12. Gaby Lovobalavu
11. Marcus Watson
10. Danny Cipriani
9. Dan Robson
1.  Ben Harris
2.  Ashley Johnson ©
3.  Jake Cooper-Woolley
4.  James Gaskell
5.  Kearnan Myall 
6.  James Haskell
7.  Thomas Young
8.  Nizaam Carr

Replacements:

16. Tom Cruse
17. Tom West
18. Marty Moore
19. Will Rowlands
20. Guy Thompson
21. Joe Simpson
22. Rob Miller
23. Guy Armitage