Jake aims to shake up Wasps cup hopes as Saints promise a high-tempo
FRUSTRATED prop Jake Cooper-Woolley is set for his first run-out since May as Wasps aim to inject some momentum into their campaign.
The teak-tough tighthead underwent knee surgery over the summer but had his comeback delayed after tearing a bicep in pre-season.
Cooper-Woolley said: “My last game was the semi-final against Saracens in May so it’s not been the perfect start, but there’s lots of rugby left.
“It’s good to come back in the Premiership Cup along with some other lads who’ve been injured without the pressure of the league.”
Cooper-Woolley features in a beefed-up Wasps side in which fellow forwards Tom West, Kearnan Myall and Charlie Matthews also make their first starts.
Rob Miller captains from full-back while Gaby Lovobalavu returns after injury to partner Ross Neal at centre and Kiwi Ambrose Curtis debuts on the wing.
Arguably Wasps’ standout forward last season, Cooper-Woolley believes Wasps are still trophy contenders.
He added: “Our squad’s been stretched but we’re still in a decent position in the league and there’s a lot
more to come from us.
“It’s been tougher than previous years and what’s killed us at times is the amount we’ve turned the ball over. But we’ve got these next two cup matches to establish some momentum before our league campaign resumes.”
Northampton are aiming to build on last week’s seven-try trouncing of Bristol as they continue to develop under new boss Chris Boyd.
Starting No.9 Charlie Davies said: “It was a fantastic performance from one to 23.
“We want to play at a really high tempo and everybody’s learning the same thing under Chris so that guys coming in know their roles. We’re aiming to play with the ball, control the ball and ensure we keep opposing sides under pressure.”
Springbok star Heinrich Brussow returns to Saints’ back row, while Boyd fields five academy products in his back-line in George Furbank, Fraser Dingwall, Fraser Strachan, Ollie Sleightholme and hugely impressive fly-half James Grayson.
Davies is looking forward to partnering Grayson, adding: “James is a young player with a lot of confidence and the talent to back it up. He can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.”