Irish out to heap woe on Wasps
April 1, 2011
London Irish's David Paice is tackled by London Wasps' Dave Walder during the clash between the sides at Adams Park earlier this season © Getty Images
London Irish will look to keep their Aviva Premiership play-off hopes alive when they tackle London Wasps at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.
The Exiles' title challenge looked to have taken a fatal turn with defeat to basement side Leeds earlier this month but they bounced back to winning ways with a 39-17 victory over Exeter last time out - a result that left them in touch with the top four.
European qualification looks Wasps' best hope for the remainder of the season having notched just one win in their last six outings - culminating with a 39-3 mauling at the hands of Northampton last weekend. But they can take hope from the 33-25 defeat they handed Irish back in November.
London Irish - Player to Watch: Dan Bowden remains one of the Exiles' finest distributors and the former Crusaders man will hope to inspire more attacking success this weekend from fly-half.
London Irish - Team News: The Exiles are unchanged after last weekend's win, with Bowden joined at halfback by Paul Hodgson and Delon Armitage continuing his comeback alongside Tom Homer and Topsy Ojo in the back-three.
London Wasps - Player to Watch: No.8 Andy Powell needs to rediscover his early-season form and get Wasps back on the front-foot.
London Wasps - Team News: With skipper Richard Birkett sidelined, Marty Veale starts alongside Simon Shaw in the second-row. John Hart takes over the captaincy and is joined in the back-row by Will Matthews and Powell. Richard Haughton also misses out due to injury, handing a start to Mark van Gisbergen at fullback.
Key Battle: Nick Kennedy and Bob Casey will hope to get on top of Wasps at the lineout, given the visitors' injuries and reshuffling in the second-row.
Trivia: London Irish have won their last five games at the Madejski Stadium in all competitions.
Stats: London Wasps have collected just six points from their last six Premiership matches.
"We played some great rugby last weekend against Exeter and want to build on it in our performance against Wasps on Sunday. With four games remaining we are still well in the hunt for a play-off position and we'll be going all out for the win on Saturday to keep us well and truly in the mix." - London Irish coach Toby Booth
"As I said last week, with the middle section of the table being so tight, a run of good results at this stage of the season could drastically change the outcome of our season." - Wasps boss Leon Holden is staying positive.
Fantasy: London Irish fullback Delon Armitage wasted little time in making an impact on his return from suspension last weekend and in that kind of form he probably warrants a place in your ESPNscrum Fantasy Rugby Game line-up.
Prediction: The Exiles will be full of confidence after last weekend, while the opposite is true of Wasps. Home win.
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