Northampton Saints v London Wasps Preview

The Saints have won just two of their last twelve encounters with Wasps in all competitions.

Northampton Saints won the LV= Cup at Sixways on Sunday and have been victorious in seven of their last eight games in all competitions.

The Saints have won their last 20 games at Franklin’s Gardens since Newcastle triumphed there, 19-13, on 28 February 2009.

London Wasps have lost two of their last three games in the Guinness Premiership.

Wasps have been defeated in their last three away matches in the competition since their 21-20 victory over Harlequins at Twickenham on 27 December.

Northampton Saints Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the Northampton Saints players have been fully focused on the sold out Guinness Premiership Round 18 match.

The Saints lifted the LV= Cup last Sunday afternoon, but Mallinder insists that that competition is firmly behind them as they look forward to another top-four Guinness Premiership clash against London Wasps.

“The LV= Cup was a good competition for us but our attention is now firmly on the Guinness Premiership,” he said this week. “We’ve got a hard few weeks in front of us, starting on Saturday.

“Wasps are a tough side. They will have a few players back from international duty and from injury and they know how to win games at this stage of the season, when they always seem to be there or thereabouts in the push for the play-offs.

“It is a big game, which we are having every week now. But this is where you want to be as a player or as a coach. We’ve won a competition and are competing in another two, but success only comes one game at a time.”

London Wasps will welcome back Club Captain Tom Rees and scrum half Joe Simpson. Rees makes his first appearance of the season, following recovery from a shoulder injury, and runs out for his first game since facing Bristol in April 2009.

He is joined in the starting line up by Joe Simpson, who also returns from injury following a shoulder dislocation sustained against Harlequins in December.

Following the close of the Nations, Wasps also welcome back Tim Payne and Joe Worsley to Club colours. George Skivington joins the England pair, following recovery from concussion sustained against Saracens, and partners Dan Ward-Smith in the second row with John Hart switching to number 8.

Amongst the backs Dom Waldouck lines up with Steve Kefu in midfield and Tom Varndell and Danny Cipriani come back into the staring XV.

With the boost of players returning from injury, Wasps bench is packed with fire power with the likes of Betsen, Walder, Jacobs and Lemi named.

Looking ahead to the game Wasps’ Director of Rugby, Tony Hanks, said, “We are delighted to welcome Tom Rees and Joe Simpson back to the game.

“Both players have shown huge resolve and focus to work through their rehab programmes which, especially for Tom, have been lengthy. Although they have not been seen on the pitch over the past few months, their contribution to the team has been huge behind the scenes and everyone is pleased to welcome them back to action.

“To have these guys back in the mix, alongside George Skivington and our England pair of Payne and Worsley, there has been a real lift at the Club this week.

“The performance at Sale was not good enough by our own standards and we are very focused on this week’s game and a strong performance against Northampton that reflects our own high expectations.”



Match : Northampton Saints v London Wasps
Date: 27th March 2010
Kick off :17:30
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens


Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden

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