Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Willie le Roux poised for his Wasps home debut

Springboks flyer Willie le Roux will make his home debut as Wasps unleash a stellar backline to face Gloucester in Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash.

League leaders Wasps will flex all their squad muscle when hosting the Cherry and Whites at Coventry's Ricoh Arena - all but one of their starting backline will be a full Test star.

Only Jimmy Gopperth - who himself represented the Junior All Blacks - is missing full international status in Dai Young's potent back division, and this is all during the RBS 6 Nations window.

South Africa's Le Roux will start on the wing in a backline dripping with playmakers, with Australia's Kurtley Beale at full-back and England stars Danny Cipriani and Kyle Eastmond also operating across the midfield.

Despite the truckload of Test talent however, rugby director Young has challenged Wasps to hit back after last weekend's 34-28 loss at Sale Sharks.

"We have an opportunity to put things right after last weekend's disappointing defeat," said Young.

"It's about how you respond to the bumps in the road that shows the true measure of the squad and I expect a good response and performance this weekend.

"We know how tough a challenge it will be against a Gloucester side who beat us at Kingsholm earlier this season and who will be coming into this match full of confidence, off the back of beating the defending champions, Saracens."

Gloucester's impressive 31-23 win over European and Premiership champions Saracens at Kingsholm last weekend has helped Wasps stay top of the league pile.

But the Cherry and Whites are not about to do this weekend's foes any favours, according to boss David Humphreys.

Lewis Ludlow replaces Ross Moriarty in the back-row, with the Welsh star away on Six Nations duty. Paul Doran-Jones slots in at prop in place of Salesi Ma'afu.

"Last weekend the way we managed the game and stuck to what we wanted to do, that paved the way for the win," said rugby director Humphreys.

"We know the challenge Wasps pose all around the pitch, they're an outstanding team. That in itself has given us a really good focus this week."

England centre Jonathan Joseph will start for Bath in the west country derby against Bristol at Ashton Gate.

The outside centre has been released from England duty this week as boss Eddie Jones has opted to hand Worcester's Ben Te'o a start against Italy at Twickenham.

So Joseph hands Bath a significant boost as they travel to face relegation scrappers Bristol.

Bristol meanwhile have former Wales and British and Irish Lions playmaker Gavin Henson starting at fly-half for the first time since October.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph