RUGBY UNION: ENGLAND stars Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly and Nathan Hughes will return for Wasps this weekend for the European Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster in Dublin.
The Six Nations trio will return for Saturday’s clash at the Aviva Stadium alongside James Haskell who made his club return last Sunday against Worcester Warriors.
Daly will join an otherwise unchanged backline, when he lines up outside Jimmy Gopperth who is set to make his 50th Wasps appearance .
Kurtley Beale, Christian Wade and Willie Le Roux are the back three, with Danny Cipriani and Dan Robson the half backs.
Matt Mullan, Tommy Taylor and Jake Cooper-Woolley start in Wasps front row, with Simon McIntyre, Ashley Johnson and Marty Moore ready to provide reinforcement from the bench.
Skipper Launchbury and Kearnan Myall form the second row partnership, with Haskell packing down as blindside flanker, Thomas Young on the openside and Nathan Hughes at no. 8. Matt Symons and Alex Rieder are named among the replacements, with Joe Simpson, Alapati Leiua and Josh Bassett also looking forward to making an impact from the bench.
Speaking ahead of the quarter-final clash, Wasps’ director of rugby, Dai Young, said: “As you can imagine, we are all really looking forward to the contest in Dublin this weekend.
“These are the games you want to be involved in and work hard all season to reach. Two quality teams going head-to-head in front of nigh on 50,000 people, so it will be a fantastic occasion for players, coaches and fans.
“We know the majority will be behind Leinster, but I’m sure we will also have fantastic travelling support, like we always do. It should be a great atmosphere and the type of occasion that players will be excited by and thrive on. It’s a challenge you run into, not away from.
“Leinster have half the Irish pack and half the Irish backs, so they’re pretty formidable that’s for sure. We’re also confident in our own abilities and competition for places has been so high that there have been a number of tight selection calls. In some cases, calls could have gone either way but that’s where we want to be as a squad, approaching our games as a 23-man squad.
“It will be important to get off to a good start in Dublin, but equally as important is having a strong bench who can come on and make a big impact, to help finish a game strongly and that’s what we’ve gone for this weekend.
“We know there are no second chances in knock-out rugby, so we will need to be at our absolute best and play the game we want to play if we’re to get a result.”
Wasps team to play Leinster Rugby
15. Kurtley Beale
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Jimmy Gopperth
11. Willie Le Roux
10. Danny Cipriani
9. Dan Robson
1. Matt Mullan
2. Tommy Taylor
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury ©
5. Kearnan Myall
6. James Haskell
7. Thomas Young
8. Nathan Hughes
16. Ashley Johnson
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Marty Moore
19. Matt Symons
20. Alex Rieder
21. Joe Simpson
22. Alapati Leiua
23. Josh Bassett