Gloucester eye pivotal win
February 10, 2011
Tom Varndell will hope to shine for Wasps © Getty Images
Gloucester have the chance to put their name into the hat for a play-off spot with a tough tie against rivals Wasps at Adams Park on Sunday.
The Cherry and Whites are currently two points behind their hosts in sixth but have two games in hand on the majority of teams above them in the table.
With neither side suffering too heavily in terms of international call-ups, this could be pivotal clash in their respective campaigns.
Wasps - Player to Watch: Flanker Joe Worsley is back on domestic duty having been deemed surplus by England and will want to prove England manager Martin Johnson wrong.
Wasps - Team News: Wasps make six changes to the side that lost to the Ospreys last time out. Four of the changes are up front with lock Richard Birkett, prop Tim Payne and No.8 John Hart back from injury while Worsley packs down at blindside. In the backs, Ben Jacobs starts at fullback, while Joe Simpson takes back the number nine shirt, having featured for the England Saxons last weekend.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: Winger James Simpson-Daniel continues to be over-looked by England and will be determined to issue another reminder of his finishing prowess.
Gloucester - Team News: Hooker Darren Dawidiuk is set to make his first Premiership start of the season with Scott Lawson away on Scotland duty. Gloucester are able to call upon Paul Doran-Jones, Luke Narraway and James Simpson-Daniel who all return from England Saxons action and all three are named in the starting line-up.
Key Battle: With both sides determined to stamp their authority on this game the midfield battle between Wasps' Dominic Waldouck and Riki Flutey and Gloucester's Tim Molenaar and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu should prove pivotal.
Trivia: Gloucester's only previous victory in their 12 visits to Adams Park was a 25-17 win in May 2008.
Stats: Wasps flanker Joe Worsley has made the second most tackles of any player this season with 144.
"We obviously have not had the results we have wanted over the past few weeks, but that is now in the past and it is all about the Premiership for the next month. How we perform at home is really important to achieve our goal of making the play-offs and that starts with Gloucester at the weekend and that is all we are concentrating on." - Wasps boss Tony Hanks demands improvement from his side
"We have to keep pushing and making ourselves better. We've won our last two away games in Rovigo and Leeds which is great and scored a lot of points in the last five games. But, that's gone, it's in the past." - Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath raises the bar
Fantasy: Wasps winger Tom Varndell can always be relied on for some fireworks, is he in your ESPNscrum Fantasy Rugby Game team?
Prediction: Two points separated the two sides earlier in the season and another keenly contested battle awaits with home advantage set to give Wasps the edge.
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