15th Nov, 2018

Wasps prepare to travel to Exeter Chiefs without Six Nations stars

RUGBY UNION: WASPS will be without a number of key players who are away on Six Nations duty as Dai Young’s side return to Aviva Premiership action this Sunday away at Exeter Chiefs.

A number of players have retained their places in the squad for the trip to Sandy Park having impressed in the recent Anglo Welsh competition, while there are also some welcome returns.

Thomas Young returns from the Welsh Six Nations camp this week to take up a spot on the openside flank and he is joined in the back row by Alex Rieder and Ashley Johnson, both of whom have featured heavily in the Anglo Welsh Cup over the last two weeks.

Simon McIntyre and Carlo Festuccia also remain in the front row, where they are joined by Marty Moore, who packs down at tighthead prop, with Matt Symons and Kearnan Myall combining in the second row.

The backline has a familiar feel, with Dan Robson and Danny Cipriani forming the half back partnership, Josh Bassett on one wing, Christian Wade on the other and Kurtley Beale at fullback. Kyle Eastmond and Jimmy Gopperth combine in the centres.

On the bench, there is a welcome return for Tom Cruse, who is named in the matchday 23 for the first time since injury ruled him out in November.

“Sandy Park is never an easy place to go and, having never won there, it would be nice to change that this weekend, but we are very aware of how difficult it will be for us on Sunday,” said Young.

“Exeter are a great side and they have hit a very good run of form recently, losing just two of their last 13 games in all competitions, so we will have to hit the ground running as we go into this very difficult block of Aviva Premiership games.

“We’re really pleased to see a large number of our guys representing their country in the 6 Nations and that has given a number of players here the opportunity to step up this weekend.

“The nature of the Aviva Premiership means that you can’t rely on fifteen or even twenty-three players and we’re confident going into Sunday’s game that the players who have been given an opportunity will take it with both hands.”

Wasps team to face Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park:

15. Kurtley Beale

14. Christian Wade

13. Jimmy Gopperth

12. Kyle Eastmond

11. Josh Bassett

10. Danny Cipriani

9. Dan Robson

1. Simon Mcintyre

2. Carlo Festuccia

3. Marty Moore

4. Matt Symons

5. Kearnan Myall

6. Ashley Johnson (c)

7. Thomas Young

8. Alex Rieder

16. Tom Cruse

17. Tom Bristow

18. Jake Cooper-Woolley

19. Will Rowlands

20. James Gaskell

21. Joe Simpson

22. Alapati Leiua

23. Frank Halai

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