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Wasps stung into action by Gloucester setback

Published 26/11/2016

Wasps rugby director Dai Young wants a response from his players against Aviva Premiership opponents Sale Sharks on Sunday
Wasps rugby director Dai Young wants a response from his players against Aviva Premiership opponents Sale Sharks on Sunday

Dai Young wants a response from Wasps against Aviva Premiership opponents Sale on Sunday after suffering a "kick in the backside" against Gloucester.

The Premiership title challengers went down 36-18 against the Cherry and Whites last weekend, which was only their second defeat of the league campaign.

And Wasps rugby director Young is looking for an immediate recovery when the Sharks visit the Ricoh Arena this weekend.

"Last Saturday was a kick in the backside, which hopefully the boys will react to," Young said.

"We are an honest group, and we know we will have to play much better against Sale this weekend, but I am confident we can.

"The good thing about the Premiership is you have the opportunity to get back on the horse and put it right the following week.

"We know what Sale will bring. They have a very solid set-piece and a very strong driving game. We expect a big challenge from them up front, and we know how physical a team they are.

"We're back at home, where we have a record we are proud of and want to defend, but we know this Sunday will be a real test for us. It's a massive couple of weeks for us in the Premiership."

Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani makes his 150th Premiership appearance, with two changes in the back division seeing starts for scrum-half Joe Simpson and wing Frank Halai. Up front, hooker Tommy Taylor returns from England duty, packing down in the front row alongside Matt Mullan and Marty Moore.

Former Wigan rugby league star Josh Charnley, meanwhile, makes his Premiership debut for Sale as rugby director Steve Diamond makes four changes following last weekend's defeat against Saracens. Charnley replaces Paolo Odogwu, with scrum-half Mike Phillips and flankers TJ Ioane and Ben Curry also starting.

Premiership leaders Saracens welcome back Alex Goode from the England camp when they tackle Allianz Park visitors Gloucester on Sunday, with the west country club unchanged after toppling Wasps.

Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys said: "Last week was a big step up for us in terms of getting all parts of the game at a level that you need to win against one of the very good teams.

"Part of the break during the Anglo-Welsh Cup allowed us really to focus on two or three key things that we thought would make the difference between turning those narrow defeats into good victories.

"But, as much as we enjoyed that Wasps victory, the focus very quickly turned to the challenge that Saracens will pose. They are undoubtedly the best team in Europe."

Elsewhere on Sunday, England back-row forward Jack Clifford returns for Harlequins after injury against Bath at the Twickenham Stoop.

Fly-half Nick Evans captains the team on his 200th appearance for the club, while wings Marland Yarde and Tim Visser return from international duty with England and Scotland respectively, and prop Will Collier plays his 100th game in Quins colours. Lock James Horwill, who suffered a nasty finger injury last Sunday, is expected to return against Newcastle next weekend.

Bath hand a debut to Australian centre Ben Tapuai, and wing Semesa Rokoduguni also starts following his try-scoring exploits for England against Fiji seven days ago.

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