Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Wasps focused on home comforts

Dai Young has urged Wasps to stay focused in their clash with minnows Mogliano
Dai Young has urged Wasps to stay focused in their clash with minnows Mogliano

Wasps are ready to complete an impressive week's work by booking their place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Six days after they moved into the Aviva Premiership title play-off zone, a bonus-point success against Italian minnows Mogliano at Adams Park will guarantee they win Pool Three. Bayonne's failure to clinch a bonus point in beating Newport Gwent Dragons on Thursday means Wasps are poised for top spot ahead of next Thursday's away clash with the Dragons.

"This is a game we will be expected to win and if we get our focus right there is no reason why we shouldn't," Wasps rugby director Dai Young said.

"You have to do the basics well first before you can think about scoring tries, and I don't expect the game to be won in the first 20 minutes. Knowing we can qualify with maximum points is a motivation, but our focus is on securing a home quarter-final, which means that our trip to Rodney Parade next week will be massive, whatever happens tomorrow."

Young's team selection reflects his desire to get the job done.

Although there are eight changes from the side that accounted for Premiership opponents Bath last Sunday, Young's line-up still contains internationals like centre Andrea Masi, fly-half Nicky Robinson, prop Tim Payne and flanker James Haskell.

England number eight prospect Billy Vunipola also starts, with Wasps knowing that bonus-point victories in their last two Challenge Cup fixtures will guarantee a home quarter-final.

Bath, on the back of four successive bonus-point victories, will wrap up their qualifying pool if they defeat Recreation Ground visitors Agen. The runaway Pool Four leaders, who would have a second chance at home to Bucharest next weekend if Agen triumph, show nine changes following last weekend's league defeat against Wasps.

Injuries sideline the likes of half-backs Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens, centre Matt Banahan and lock Dominic Day, so there are opportunities for Tom Heathcote and Mark McMillan, with Ben Williams and Dan Hipkiss forging Bath's midfield combination.

Bath's all-international front-row of Paul James, Lee Mears and David Wilson is retained, but there are back-row places for Will Skuse and Nick Koster alongside skipper Francois Louw.

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