Edwards demands revenge
January 1, 2011
Riki Flutey returns for Wasps for his first start since injuring calf in October © Getty Images
Shaun Edwards warned Newcastle that Wasps will be determined to taste revenge when the two sides clash at Adams Park on Sunday.
Wasps were beaten 29-17 at Kingston Park on the second weekend of the Aviva Premiership season. And Edwards, the Wasps head coach, said: "This is a huge game, probably one of our biggest games of the season. This lot gave us a spanking at their ground.
"They are the only team that has given us a spanking, apart from Northampton. We want revenge on Sunday. We want to get as close to a full house as we can to cheer the lads on. It is a revenge mission."
Wasps head into the game on the back of a frustrating defeat to Saracens at Wembley, which ended a run of six straight victories. Riki Flutey will make his first Wasps start since injuring his calf in October and he features as one of six changes to the team beaten on Boxing Day.
Nic Berry takes over from scrum-half Joe Simpson, who has a hamstring injury, while Richard Haughton replaces Mark van Gisbergen at fullback. Up front, Tim Payne returns at loose-head with Zac Taulafo moving to tight-head and Will Matthews comes into the back row.
Director of rugby Tony Hanks said: "In recent weeks we have enjoyed a good run of performances and results so there is obvious disappointment on the back of the Saracens game. There has been a strong desire to put things right in training this week and really focus on an improved performance against Newcastle."
Gavin Henson will make his first start for Saracens at outside centre against Sale, who welcome back James Gaskell plus England duo Charlie Hodgson and Andrew Sheridan for their first home game since Mike Brewer's departure as head coach.
Henson made it clear after making his Saracens debut off the bench against Wasps on Boxing Day that he wanted a chance to start at inside centre.
The 28-year-old fears Wales coach Warren Gatland will not consider him for the Six Nations if he has not proven himself in a key decision-making position. But with Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt holding onto Saracens' 10 and 12 jerseys, boss Brendan Venter has convinced Henson to continue to start at outside centre.
"Gavin's had another good week with us in training and we were very pleased with his contribution at Wembley," said Venter. "Having spoken to Gavin, he recognises the need we have at outside centre and wants to help the team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside