European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 2: Wasps v Leinster preview
Last Updated: 24/01/15 7:26pm
Leinster have made two changes to their pack for Saturday’s European Rugby Champions Cup shoot-out with Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
The Irish province are two points clear of Wasps at the top of Pool 2, with both teams entering the fixture on the back of superb wins in round five.
Australia international Kane Douglas is promoted from the bench, having impressed when introduced during last weekend’s demolition of Castres, and he partners Devin Toner in the second row.
Their other change comes in the back row as Dominic Ryan is preferred to Jack Conan, who was called into Ireland’s Six Nations training squad earlier this week. He is named among the replacements.
Eoin Reddan and Jimmy Gopperth continue at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, with Ian Madigan and Luke Fitzgerald forming the centre partnership.
It doesn’t get much more exciting than this in club rugby, a knockout game against one of the most successful sides in Europe for a place in the European quarter finals.
There is one change on the bench, where Isaac Boss comes in for Luke McGrath.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young also makes two enforced changes to the team that recorded a 23-3 win at Harlequins last weekend.
James Gaskell starts in the second row in place of Kearnan Myall, who picked up a knock during the victory at the Stoop, but he is deemed fit enough to be named on the bench.
Alapati Leiua suffered a knee injury against Quins so Ben Jacobs starts at inside centre. He partners Elliot Daly, who will make his 100th appearance for Wasps.
Daly will once again be back-up scrum-half, as all of Wasps' other nines are out through injury, with Young naming six forwards on his bench.
Wasps have scored more than 40 points in both of their games at the Ricoh Arena, while the home team has triumphed in all four meetings between the teams in Europe’s top flight.
“We are very respectful of what Leinster Rugby have achieved, but we also know it’s a one-off, winner-takes-all game, with a place in the European quarter-finals at stake,” said Young
“Saturday’s game will be as close as you get to Test match rugby at club level. It’s a huge opportunity for players to show everyone they can compete on the big stage. There is no shortage of motivation and you can be sure that nothing will be left out on the pitch.”
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson; 1 Matt Mullan, 2 Edd Shervington, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 4 Bradley Davies, 5 James Gaskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 7 James Haskell (c), 8 Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Wooley, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Ed Jackson, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Andrea Masi.
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Luke Fitzgerald, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan; 1 Michael Bent, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Marty Moore, 4 Devin Toner, 5 Kane Douglas, 6 Dominic Ryan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c).
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jamie Hagan, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Gordon D’Arcy, 23 Darragh Fanning.