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Young want to avoid low

Former English and European champion clubs Wasps and Bath could both hit 10-year Premiership lows on Sunday.

Wasps host Worcester and Bath face London Irish knowing defeat would consign them to fifth successive league losses, something neither has experienced since the 2001-02 season. Bath were defeated at Northampton on Christmas Eve, while Wasps suffered a 39-10 Boxing Day pummelling against Gloucester, leaving them in the Premiership's bottom four.

"I am looking for a big reaction from the players after last Monday's performance, which was disappointing for everyone," Wasps rugby director David Young said. "Worcester are a physical, powerful outfit, and we've been working hard this week preparing for what is going to be a tough match."

He added: "We need a bit more muscle at the breakdown, so it's good for us to be able to bring in someone fresh like Tinus (Du Plessis), and Jonathan (Poff) coming back in on the other flank is also a big boost for us."

Former St Helens rugby league star Kyle Eastmond could make his Bath debut off the bench against Irish after recovering from a groin injury, while Irish will bolster their pack with long-serving lock Nick Kennedy, England prop Alex Corbisiero and hooker James Buckland all starting.

Saracens, conquerors of Premiership leaders Harlequins last time out, are without wing David Strettle due to a shoulder injury against Vicarage Road opponents Gloucester tomorrow, while centre Owen Farrell is rested.

Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath, meanwhile, has named an unchanged team from the side that brushed aside Wasps.

"We highlighted previously that a bit of confidence was lacking in our game, and we went out with a mindset that we were going to try and play and impose our game on Wasps. We did that," Redpath said.

"However, we will go down to Watford with the underdog tag because Saracens are a very good side and you can't hide from that.

"They are very strong defensively and have good tactical kickers, but we have to try and impose our game on them as well. We can't go down there with a fear factor, we have to go there with nothing to lose and try to challenge them."


From Belfast Telegraph