Pair miss out but Young has a strong hand for trip to Rec
WILLIE le Roux and Elliot Daly are missing from Wasps’ squad to face Bath at the Rec today.
England international Daly sits out the Heineken Champions Cup match as he takes his mandatory rest week following exertions in the autumn internationals.
A neck injury rules Springbok le Roux out of the Pool One fixture, ending his six-game run in the start 15.
Coming into their place is Rob Miller at fullback while Ross Neal has recovered from a hip injury that ruled him out of Wasps’ last two games against Bath and Northampton Saints.
Elsewhere the only changes see Nathan Hughes make his first start in five games with Nizaam Carr taking his place on the bench while prop Will Stuart starts at tighthead with Jake CooperWoolley moved to the bench.
Charlie Matthews takes Kearnan Myall’s place on the bench as director of rugby Dai Young stayed true to his word of sending a strong squad for the round five match between two sides already out of the competition.
“You want to get into a habit of winning,” said Young. “People keep on telling us one win in 13 competitions, even if we’ve openly said that the Premiership Cup is just a development tool for us.
“So we’ve learnt that you have to keep on picking up wins no matter what competition because otherwise people will use it as ammunition to chuck stones at you.
“It’s not a game like snakes and ladders, this is their job, their livelihood. That edge of playing in a cup final isn’t going to be there, we have to be honest with that, we’re all human.
“But they still have to go out and do a job and go there to win. So I don’t expect to see anything other than us playing to the best of our ability and trying to get that result.”
Wasps have selected their best back row, second row and half-back partnership to face Bath, giving a clear indication of how seriously they are taking this game.
The centre partnership of Juan de Jongh and Michele Campagnaro is given a second-consecutive outing with the aim of locking down what has been a problematic area of the pitch this season. Ross Neal deserves to come straight back into the fold, his injury came at an unfortunate time when he was looking increasingly assured and powerful in wide channels with forceful carries and an eye for the line. There’s no excuses not to go and get the victory with this squad. We’ve learnt that you
have to keep on picking up wins no
matter what competition otherwise people will use it as
Since October 6, the number eight has played in under a quarter (24 per cent) of the available minutes in Wasps’ ten subsequent frontline games. A suspension, England call-up, injury and a family bereavement have limited Hughes to just one start during that period. He made just 11 appearances for the Black and Golds during 2018. If rumours are true and he is Bristol Bears-bound this summer, time is fast running out to ensure his six years with the club do not fade out to a disappointing end.
Cast your minds back to September, Hughes tore into the Gallagher Premiership with three tries in as many games after returning from England’s tour to South Africa in one piece.
Brad Shields and Thomas Young provide all the back-row support of his dreams to smash rucks and tackle like demons to free up their wrecking ball at the back of the scrum to provide a timely reminder of his explosive abilities with ball in hand.
SELECTION VERDICT Wasps boss Dai Young DARREN Dawidiuk will make his league debut for Coventry against Doncaster Knights at the Butts Park Arena this afternoon (3pm).The former Gloucester and London Irish hooker suffered a bicep injury during pre-season which sidelined him until November, since when he has made five appearances in the Championship Cup.He joins skipper Phil Boulton and Charlie Beech in the front row, behind which James Voss partners George Oram at lock while Tongan internationals Dan Faleafa and Jack Ram accompany Adam Peters in the back row.Cov’s coaching group also name a Tongan World Cup squad contender on the left wing, where fit-again David Halaifonua, who makes his first start since mid-October, features alongside Max Trimble and James Stokes in an exciting back three.Doncaster face the same midfield trio that started the pre-Christmas draw at Nottingham, while Pete White is named at scrum half.This means Tom Kessell rotates to the bench, where he is joined by Andy Bulumakau plus five forwards including Harlequins loan prop Josh McNulty.Cov director of rugby Rowland Winter is expecting a ‘no-nonsense’ test today.He said: “We’ve played Doncaster twice already, and having them in the cup period was helpful from the point of view of getting to know them.“Clive Griffiths is pretty no-nonsense in his approach to rugby and they have some big boys, like Rory Pitman, Josh Tyrell and Ollie Stedman who fit well with that.“We have one of the strongest 22-man squads we have named for a long time and I am excited to see them run out at home and take them on in front of a packed Butts Park.”