Preview: London Wasps v Northampton Saints

Winger Paul Sackey makes his return to the London Wasps after a three month lay off following a knee injury. The England international lines up against Northampton in the last Guinness Premiership game of the season at Adams Park on Sunday.

Sackey teams up with Josh Lewsey and Mark van Gisbergen in an attacking back three, whilst teenager Danny Cipriani makes his first Premiership start at fly-half for Wasps, having made his three previous Premiership starts from full-back.

Cipriani’s Academy team-mate Dominic Waldouck again teams up with experienced Fraser Waters in the centre, whilst on form scrum-half Eoin Reddan continues in the number nine jersey after having scored four tries in his last two appearances.

A strong front five sees Raphael Ibanez return to the hooking berth, whilst in a back row shuffle Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan starts with an all international back row of Dan Leo, Jonny O’Connor and James Haskell, despite resting Tom Rees and Lawrence Dallaglio and leaving Joe Worsley on the bench.

Tom Voyce does not feature in the 22, as he is still recovering from a foot injury picked up last Sunday, whilst Alex King is also rested.
“This game is massive for both teams, and we both have a huge amount to play for,” said Wasps coach Ian McGeechan.

“We know Wasps have got to keep winning if we are going to make the play-offs, and that is our focus on Sunday.”

England skipper and prop Phil Vickery picks up the captain’s armband for Wasps.

“We are very fortunate to have so much experience and so many leaders throughout the team and squad, and I’m delighted for Phil Vickery, who takes on the captaincy for the first time today,” said McGeechan.

Form: London Wasps have Mark van Gisbergen to thank for keeping their eight match winning run at Adams Park going. Van Gisbergen calmly slotted an 80th minute conversion of Eion Reddan’s try against Saracens on Sunday to take the spoils 27-26, and keep Wasps on track for a Guinness Premiership semi-final spot. Northampton must win to stave off the threat of relegation, such is their plight that a pointless loss here and a win for Worcester at London Irish would consign the Saints to a season in National One. The Saints only win in the Guinness Premiership since December was at Leicester on 24 February. Northampton are actually going for a league double over Wasps, having beaten them 8-6 when the two sides met at Franklin’s Gardens on 22 December. The Saints have never won in six previous visits to Adams Park.

London Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Dominic Waldouck, 11 Josh Lewsey, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Eoin Reddan8 James Haskell7 Jonny O’Connor6 Dan Leo5 Tom Palmer4 Simon Shaw3 Peter Bracken2 Raphael Ibanez1 Phil Vickery (c)
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Nick Adams, 18 Richard Birkett, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Simon Amor, 21 Ayoola Erinle, 22 Dave Walder

Northampton Saints: tbc

Date: Sunday 15th April
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 12:15pm (11:15am GMT)
Referee: Dave Pearson
Touch judges: Peter Huckle, Bob Mullis
Television match official: Laurie Bryant, Graham Hughes


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