Wasps v Bath - Aviva Premiership match preview
Wasps have recalled wing Christian Wade and flanker James Haskell for the visit of Aviva Premiership rivals Bath.
Last Updated: 06/01/13 10:28am
In a positional switch, Elliot Daly is back at outside centre having featured on the wing and at full-back in the two most recent games.
Wasps go into the game in good form, with five wins in their last seven games in the Aviva Premiership and a 100 per cent record at Adams Park this season.
And they have already been beaten by Bath this season - 30-23 in September at The Rec.
Nick Abendanon, Stuart Hooper and Dominic Day all return to the Bath starting line-up this weekend.
Abendanon comes back in at full-back, replacing Ollie Devoto. Horacio Agulla and Tom Biggs continue on the wings, with Matt Banahan and Kyle Eastmond combining in the centres once more. Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens also continue their half-back partnership.
Hooper and Day form a new second-row partnership, with Dave Attwood shifting to the bench.
Paul James, Lee Mears and David Wilson are unchanged in the front row, as are Francois Louw, Guy Mercer and Ben Skirving at the back of the pack.
Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Cannon, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Andrea Masi.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Kyle Eastmond, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (capt), 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Dan Hipkiss.
What they said...
Wasps captain Hugo Southwell
"They beat us earlier this season so they will come up here confident they can get a win. They're a very strong side defensively so any chances we get we're going to have to take.
"We've got nine points from our two games over the festive period so far and we know that another win this weekend would be a huge boost, but we can't expect it to happen - we've got to go out there and really front up."
Wasps rugby director Dai Young
"It is obviously pleasing that we are getting together some momentum now, but as I have said to the players, you only have to look at the table to see how tight it all is.
"A couple of wins would keep you well in the top half, but a couple of losses could put you right back down the table, so there is no-one getting carried away here.
"We have an opportunity this Sunday against Bath to go into the league break in a good position, so this really is a big game for us.
"Bath are incredibly difficult to score tries against - they are one of the top defensive sides in the league - so we know what a challenge they will bring.
"They will be targeting this as a game to help them move up the table as well, so we will be in for a real battle."