Wasps wait for Tigers
September 16, 2010
Dan Hipkiss's try helped Tigers overcome Exeter © Getty Images
Reigning Premiership champions Leicester face a testing trip to High Wycombe as they face an underperfoming London Wasps side this Saturday, just a week after being given the fright of their lives by new-boys Exeter Chiefs.
Leicester ultimately prevailed 37-27 against the Chiefs at Welford Road, but it did not stop Richard Cockerill from labelling his side's defensive efforts as "soft" and demanding a vast improvement in their lineout and overall performance against Wasps.
The Wasps management was similarly incensed by their disappointing display in defeat to Newcastle Falcons last Friday night. Wasps had built a 17-3 lead after 27 minutes, but Jimmy Gopperth's boot helped to overturn the deficit as the Falcons scored 26 unanswered points, leaving Wasps still searching for the first win of the season.
London Wasps - Player to Watch: Samoan wing David Lemi makes his first start of the season after impressing in 'A' league action and has all of the attributes to cause some major headaches for the Tigers.
London Wasps - Team News: Dominic Waldouck and Ben Broster replace injured duo Ben Jacobs (hamstring) and Zak Taulafo (ankle) at outside centre and tight-head prop respectively, while there are also recalls for Lemi and Joe Worsley.
Leicester - Player to Watch: He starred in the Heineken Cup last season and promising centre Billy Twelvetrees has a rare chance to impress in the Premiership after a couple of injuries.
Leicester - Team News: England blindside flanker Tom Croft will make his first start of the season, while Marcos Ayerza, Martin Castrogiovanni and Ed Slater have also been drafted into the pack. With Dan Hipkiss and Anthony Allen having picked up injuries against Exeter, Matt Smith and Twelvetrees will form a new-look Leicester midfield.
Key Battle: A massive Tigers front-row will fancy their chances against a new combination for Wasps, although Broster will be no pushover for Ayerza.
Trivia: Wasps are undefeated at Adams Park in the Premiership since early January, but have not won a home game played on a Saturday in any competition since beating Bayonne 22-18 in the European Cup on December 12.
Stats: Leicester Tigers were the only side in Aviva Premiership Rugby last weekend to gain a try bonus point, while the East Midlanders have won four of their last six away matches in the Premiership.
"After a good pre-season, there is obvious disappointment with results in the first two weeks of the Premiership, so in true Wasps style we've worked hard in training and have focused on ensuring we are more clinical at key moments. In terms of the game this week, it is our first at Adams Park, it's Wasps v Leicester and we don't really need to say much more than that." - Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks
"We made some errors in attack and some poor decisions in defence against Exeter but in the end we came through with the bonus-point win. We've been doing some very good things and, if we can tidy up a few bits and improve our accuracy, we are only going to get better." - Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill
Fantasy: Leicester's Scott Hamilton has bagged three tries so far this season and has already proved to be a worthwhile addition to the ESPN Premiership Rugby Fantasy Game.
Prediction: Leicester to build on their second-half display against Exeter as Wasps search for a win continues on another frustrating afternoon.
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park