Leeds out to secure first win
October 28, 2010
Mark van Gisbergen starts at fly-half for Wasps © Getty Images
Wasps begin life without Phil Vickery with a tricky trip to Headingly to take on a Leeds side despterate for a first win.
And Tony Hanks' side can't dwell on a tough week that began with them picking up the pieces after a dreadful mauling at the hands of Northampton and continued with the retirement of their legendary prop. Neil Back's Leeds side were painfully close to winning a dour game against Sale last week but they need points fast.
With Wasps in the bottom four, they will be looking to make things go from bad to worse for the former champions.
Leeds - Player to Watch: Scott Barrow was a rare plus for Leeds last weekend, making plenty of ground and looking lively with ball in hand. He replaces youngster James Tincknell following an error-strewn display against Sale.
Leeds - Team News: Henry Fa'afili joins Barrow in the starting line-up while Andy Titterrell and Rhys Oakley both win starts due to Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie being away with the England squad.
Wasps - Player to Watch: Wasps have been inconsistent this season but when Tom Varndell has gotten time and space they have generally thrived, the England international has the pace to damage Leeds.
Wasps - Team News: Injuries to Dave Walder and Riki Flutey mean that fullback Mark van Gisbergen starts at fly-half, with Ben Jacobs moving into the No.15 jersey. Steve Kefu starts alongside Dom Waldouck in midfield.
Key Battle: Leeds went route one last weekend with Lachlan Mackay at fly-half and they will want to make more of an impact with van Gisbergen playing out of position.
Trivia: Leeds beat Wasps home and away last season and will hope to keep up their winning record.
Stats: Exeter may be the most-error prone side in the league but these two occupy second and third place with Leeds on 59 and Wasps on 54.
"We are a strong enough side now to appreciate that things are not going to always go our way. We are mentally tough now and the squad is not disheartened after last week's loss, just a steely determination to put things right on Sunday." - Leeds director of rugby Andy Key.
"There has been a lot of soul searching this week after a disappointing display and result against Northampton Saints. There is no hiding from that disappointment and our focus has been to train hard and ensure we put out a strong performance against Leeds on Sunday." - Wasps coach Tony Hanks.
Fantasy: Unsurprisingly Tom Varndell leeds the way for Wasps but the winger has gone a little quiet recently. Has he done enough to stay in your ESPN Fantasy Premiership Game team?
Prediction: Leeds were dire against Sale but will fancy their chances against a Wasps side low on confidence. Nevetheless, the visitors have more quality at their disposal and plenty of motivation. Away win.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra