TIME TO BE INSECTICIDAL
November 28 2018
So it should be normal service resumed on Saturday when Wasps visit Allianz Park. The autumn Internationals are over and everyone is back in the fold and hopefully available for selection! But those who were left behind have also done a sterling job which might well give Mark McCall a bit of a selection headache! In addition, Mako must be getting close to fitness and maybe even Isiekwe or Kruis.
Wasps have so far had an up and down season. They started well, winning 4 out of their first 5 games (with a single defeat at home to Chiefs). However the International break has been less kind to them and they have won only 1 of their 3 League games when last weekend they pulled off a good home win over Bristol Bears. (This ended a 7 match losing streak in all competitions). The previous weekend they surrendered rather tamely to Sinners at The Gardens (which followed on from a disappointing home defeat by Gloucester). Interestingly that form has been good enough to put Wasps in 3rd place in the Premiership Table – just 14 points behind Exeter and Sarries.
Nevertheless anyone who was at Allianz for that St Valentine’s Day Massacre back in 2016 will not take Wasps lightly. Christian Wade may have departed along with Danny Cipriani but Wasps still have plenty of talent on show. Eliott Daly, Nathan Hughes, Willie Le Roux & Brad Shields, should be back from international duties but Wasps have a number of key injuries still, not least Jimmy Gopperth, Joe Launchbury, Matt Mulan, Joe Simpson & Dan Robson. Wasps may also be without Nizaam Carr, Marcus Watson, Kieran Brookes, Will Stuart, Tommy Taylor & Simon McIntyre who all missed the win over Bristol although Fly half Lima Sopoaga was fit to play. Rumours that all is not well in the camp persist, and the likes of Elliot Daly may be on the move next year but for now Wasps will still be formidable opponents.
The Wasps board (at least before it died today!) seems divided between resting their internationals (so they are ready to face Toulouse the following week) and playing their strongest team. They are saying good things about Ross Neal on the wing. Reading between the lines, they have some selection dilemmas too, especially in the backs. We may see a team along the lines of:-
15 Le Roux, 14 Neal, 13 Daly, 12 De Jongh, 11 Bassett, 10 Sopoaga, 9 Hampson; 1 Harris, 2 Cruise, 3 Cooper-Woolley, 4 Rowlands, 5 Gaskell, 6 Johnson, 7 Young, 8 Hughes (although I also think Shields will play but where?)
For Sarries for once there is the luxury (and the dilemma) of choice! Many of last week’s heroes really deserve another start but how do you leave out the likes of Maitland and Williams who are in frighteningly good form? I suspect McCall will have half an eye on Europe but will still put out a strong team. So for what it’s worth I would go with:
15. Goode, 14 Williams or Maitland with the other one on the bench), 13 tough one but probably just go with Lozowski over Tompkins, 12 Barritt (easy), 11 Lewington, 10 Farrell (I wouldn’t rest him – he’s a guy who wants to play but if rumours are true does Malins get another go?), 9 Spencer (or Wiggy), 1. Barrington 2. George 3. Koch, 4. Itoje, 5. Skelton, 6. Wray (if he’s fit) 7. Rhodes, 8.Vailanu
The forecast is for rain so bring your waterproofs. Everyone’s favourite referee JP Doyle has the whistle! Bring it on.pqs: qs:
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:12:11:14:09:27 by sutton_sarrie.
Points win matches: tries win hearts and minds.