Pair miss out but Young has a strong hand for trip to Rec

Warwickshire Telegraph - - SPORT - By BOBBY BRIDGE

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

am­mu­ni­tion.

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.”

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