Wasps v Bath Rugby Premiership Preview

Wasps host Bath at the Ricoh Arena this weekend

Bath head coach Mike Ford has made two changes to the side that played Exeter last week for this weekend’s Aviva Premiership match against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

Ollie Devoto comes in at outside centre to make his 70th Club appearance, and Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu makes his first Aviva Premiership start.

Bath’s back three features fullback Tom Homer and wings Anthony Watson and Semesa Rokoduguni (making his 60th appearance for Bath).

In the midfield, Devoto lines up outside Kyle Eastmond at 12, with half-backs George Ford and Matawalu starting together for the first time.

The pack is unchanged from that which proved so crucial in defeating Exeter in the opening round of the Premiership.

Nick Auterac, Ross Batty and Henry Thomas in the front row are bolstered by the lock pairing of captain Stuart Hooper (Bath’s tryscorer last weekend) and Dave Attwood. Blindside Matt Garvey, openside Alafoti Faosiliva and number eight Leroy Houston comprise the back row.

New signing Rhys Priestland is in line to make his first appearance for Bath from the bench, with fellow Wales international Dom Day also among the replacements following both players’ recent World Cup campaign. Meanwhile, Sam Burgess is rested for this weekend’s match.

Wasps are without a win in their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures and have not remained winless in four successive games since March 2014.

Wasps have lost two of their last three encounters at the Ricoh Arena in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Bath Rugby have won their opening two fixtures in the tournament for the past two seasons, whilst their only defeat in their last nine Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was to Saracens in last season’s final at Twickenham.

Bath are going for a fourth successive away victory in the competition for the first time since March 2010.

Wasps only victory in their last five clashes with Bath in all tournaments was 29-22 at Adams Park in October 2014, whilst Bath’s only previous visit to the city of Coventry for a league game was in a 9-all draw with Coventry RFC at Coundon Road in November 1987.

Meanwhile Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has brought back England internationals James Haskell and Joe Launchbury, with Lorenzo Cittadini, who returns from Italy duty, named among the replacements.

Carlo Festuccia starts at hooker, Ben Jacobs at inside centre and former Auckland Blues winger, Frank Halai, is set to make his Wasps’ debut on the wing after joining the club this week.

Ahead of the game, Dai Young said: “It was a frustrating performance against Harlequins at The Stoop last Friday, but we’ve had a real boost this week having most of our internationals back and they add some extra experience to the group.

“Bath will also have the majority of their internationals back for this match and it doesn’t get much tougher in the league than facing Bath, who deservedly reached the Premiership Final last season.

“We managed to turn the Ricoh into a bit of a fortress towards the end of last season, and we know we need to start in the same vein this time, with the Aviva Premiership more competitive than ever.”

Match : Wasps v Bath Rugby
Date : Saturday 24th October
Venue : Ricoh Arena,
Kick Off : 2pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Craig Maxwell-Keys. (5th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff and Peter Allan.
TMO: David Grashoff.

Teams

Wasps

15. Rob Miller, 14. Christian Wade, 13. Elliot Daly, 12. Ben Jacobs, 11. Frank Halai, 10. Jimmy Gopperth, 9. Joe Simpson, 1. Matt Mullan, 2. Carlo Festuccia, 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. James Gaskell, 6. James Haskell (c), 7. George Smith, 8. Nathan Hughes

Replacements : 16. Ashley Johnson, 17. Simon McIntyre, 18. Lorenzo Cittadini, 19. Kearnan Myall, 20. Sam Jones, 21. Dan Robson, 22. Ruaridh Jackson, 23. Sailosi Tagicakibau

Bath

15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 1 Nick Auterac, 2 Ross Batty, 3 Henry Thomas, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 6 Matt Garvey, 7 Alafoti Faosiliva, 8 Leroy Houston

Replacements:16 Rob Webber, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Dave Wilson, 19 Dom Day, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Matt Banahan

 

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