Aviva Premiership: Cipriani starts Wasps' season opener
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 03/09/16 1:17pm
Danny Cipriani makes his return to Wasps’ starting line-up almost six years on from his last appearance for the club as they host Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.
The 28-year-old heads straight into the starting fly-half jersey with Jimmy Gopperth shifting to inside centre where he partners Elliot Daly in the midfield.
Club captain Joe Launchbury and James Gaskell link up in the second row, with Gaskell returning to action following a six-month injury lay-off.
Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young says last year's Premiership finalists pose a big threat in the opening weekend.
"Exeter bring a lot of intensity in defence and their attack is exceptional, especially when they get into your 22," Young said.
"Any small slip-ups will be punished, so we need to make sure we take our attack to them, but are disciplined in what we do."
Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has handed Ollie Devoto his first competitive start for the club, where he lines up against Gopperth in the No 12 jersey, while England's Henry Slade is set for an intriguing fly-half battle opposite Cipriani.
Exeter are one of the more settled sides in the Premiership after minimal movement over the summer, a factor Rob Baxter believes works in their favour.
"We finished runners-up last season, so we shouldn't really be looking to have too much change," said Baxter.
"A lot of what we did last season was very good because we were the best defensive team in the Premiership and second best attacking-wise, so it's been more about fine tuning things this summer, rather than making any kind of wholesale changes."
The two sides met four times during the 2015-16 season, with Wasps' only victory coming in the quarter-final of the European Champions Cup at the Ricoh Arena.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 1 Matt Mullan, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Phil Swanston, 4 Joe Launchbury (C), 5 James Gaskell, 6 Sam Jones, 7 Guy Thompson, 8 Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Brendan Macken, 23 Frank Halai.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodbury, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 1 Ben Moon, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Mitch Lees, 5 Damian Welch, 6 Don Armand (C), 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Thomas Waldrom.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 James Short.