Wasps take perfect record to Edgeley Park
September 14, 2011
Christian Wade has enjoyed a strong start to the season © Getty Images
London Wasps take on Sale Sharks in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday hoping to prolong their formidable start to the season.
A 20-15 opening day victory over reigning Premiership champions Saracens at Twickenham was followed by a thrilling 35-29 triumph at home to last seasson's finalists Leicester Tigers at Adams Park. However they face a first test of their away form against Sale at Edgeley Park on Saturday.
Sale, who along with Wasps are under new management, were victims of Worcester's forceful introduction to the Aviva Premiership on the opening day. But the Sharks howed their teeth seven days later as jilted Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel inspired a 30-29 victory over London Irish.
Sale Sharks - Player to Watch: Charlie Amesbury saw his 2010-2011 season ended by a nasty eye injury. Now fully recovered and seemingly reinvigorated by his summer switch from Newcastle to Sale, he is out to impress in his first start for his new club.
Sale Sharks- Team News: Sale make two changes in personnel to the side which upset the Exiles last weekend. Marc Jones comes into the side at hooker in place of the injured Joe Ward, while the return of Amesbury sees Joaquin Tuculet switch wings and Tom Brady drop out.
London Wasps - Player to Watch: Nicky Robinson has played a key role in Wasps' fine start but he misses out this weekend with a hamstring strain. Ryan Davis will wear the No.10 jersey as a consequence so the pressure is on him to orchestrate another win for Wasps. His composed performance after coming on as a replacement for Robinson at Adams Park last weekend indicates that he will be up to the task.
London Wasps - Team News: As well as the promotion of Davis to the starting line-up, there are three other changes to the side which saw off Leicester, with Ross Fillipo, Chris Mayor and Richard Haughton all earning recalls. Richard Birkett, Riki Flutey and Hugo Southwell are the men to make way.
Key Battle: Wasps wings Tom Varndell and Christian Wade, in particular, have been in absolutely scintillating form so far this season so there is a lot of pressure on their Sale counterparts Tuculet and Amesbury to contain the in-form duo.
Trivia: Only once, in 30 top-flight meetings, have these two sides finished level after 80 minutes.
Stats: Christian Wade sits atop the try-scorers' chart at the moment, having dotted four times in two games.
"We are by no means getting ahead of ourselves. We've had two good wins but both were games that we could have lost if we are brutally honest. Sale will come here looking to generate momentum after their win last weekend and we've got a lot of room for improvement ourselves so this will require another step-up for us."
"They obviously have a very good set-piece and a good back line to go with it. We've got to get our scrum right, because we're going down to take on the form team of the moment. They're an established team and we're still new, finding our feet."
Prediction: Sale proved last weekend that Wasps cannot afford to take victory for granted but they should have just enough to keep their winning run going.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September