Trio’s re­turn a big boost for Wasps at home of the cham­pi­ons

Warwickshire Telegraph - - RUGBY - By JA­COB LEEKS

BRAD Shields, Lima Sopoaga and Wil­lie le Roux all re­turn to the Wasps start­ing line-up for tonight’s Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup cur­tain­raiser at Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Le­in­ster.

Shields has fea­tured just once so far this sea­son in black-and­gold af­ter suf­fer­ing a cheek­bone in­jury on his de­but against Ex­eter Chiefs.

His se­lec­tion is timely for Wasps, with cap­tain Joe Launch­bury still ruled out with a knee in­jury and Nathan Hughes sus­pended.

Nizaam Carr takes over from Hughes at the back of the scrum, while Thomas Young makes his first start of the sea­son at open­side flanker.

Sopoaga has also re­cov­ered from a neck spasm to re­place Billy Searle at fly-half, and he is set to match-up against the world-renowned Johnny Sex­ton who starts for Le­in­ster at 10.

De­spite be­ing forced off with a HIA As­sess­ment in South Africa’s fi­nal Rugby Cham­pi­onship match last week, le Roux will make only his sec­ond Wasps ap­pear­ance of the sea­son at full-back.

Joe Simp­son has won the se­lec­tion bat­tle with Craig Hampson to start at scrum-half, with Dan Rob­son ruled out for ap­prox­i­mately three months with an an­kle in­jury. Chris­tian Wade, who is yet to score this sea­son, is out with an ill­ness so skip­per El­liot Daly moves out to the wing.

Re­plac­ing him in the cen­tre is Michael Le Bour­geois who will part­ner Juan de Jongh.

Geor­gian prop Zurabi Zh­va­nia is handed a start­ing spot in the front row next to Tommy Tay­lor and Kieran Brookes while Will Row­lands and James Gaskell get the nod in the sec­ond row.

Wasps have a fairly even record against the Ir­ish­men, win­ning four, los­ing four and draw­ing once of the We’ve had the kick

in the back­side go­ing into this game and it’s up to us to re­spond. It adds some in­ten­sity. last nine clashes, but boss Dai Young in­sists his side will pay Le­in­ster the re­spect they de­serve.

“We’ve had the kick in the back­side go­ing into this game and it’s up to us to re­spond,” Young said.

“It adds some in­ten­sity when you think about who you are play­ing.

“We’ve played Le­in­ster a few times over the past cou­ple of sea­sons and we’ve got a huge re­spect for the way they play the game.

“You’ve only got to look at the fact they have an in­ter­na­tional 15 and a cou­ple of oth­ers to back it up as well.

“They’ve cer­tainly got a qual­ity team.

“You don’t win the Euro­pean Cup by ac­ci­dent.

“We’re un­der no added.

“We’re not go­ing there as favourites but we’re look­ing for­ward to it. It’s a great game for us to be a part of.”

il­lu­sions,” he

From top, Wasps stars Brad Shields, Lima Sopoaga and Wil­lie le Roux will face Le­in­ster tonight DAN Rob­son’s an­kle in­jury is worse than first feared af­ter Wasps re­vealed he has been ruled out un­til Jan­uary.Rob­son was forced off af­ter 40 min­utes of last week’s de­feat to Glouces­ter and his club had hoped he would be side­lined for a month.But the scrum-half tweeted yes­ter­day that he was set to have surgery af­ter a spe­cial­ist re­viewed an MRI scan.Al­though he said his sur­geon has promised he will ‘come back stronger’, Rob­son ad­mit­ted that he is ‘gut­ted to be out for a while’.The three month lay-off was con­firmed by Wasps in their team an­nounce­ment and

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