TheSaracens.com
Wasps Preview
By Seany_Boy0511
January 3 2018

First and foremost happy New Year to all Wasps, Saracens and all other teams and their fans as we go into 2018, may it be a prosperous and successful one!

Onto Sunday then, as we enter 2018 we also enter round 12 of the Aviva premiership as Saracens travel up to Coventry to face an inform Wasps team at the Ricoh area this Sunday 7th January. Last time out wasps were in cruise control against Bath at the Rec. For the first half an hour or so it looked as though Bath were still recovering from their festive delights! As Wasps raced into a 19 - 0 lead with tries coming from Marcus Watson, Dan Robson and Thomas Young respectively. During that period of play Bath wee forced to make 65+ tackles compared to wasps 9. What tremendous work rate and play in general from Wasps. However Marcus Watson then got himself sent to naughty chair for 10 mins for a clear deliberate knock on and it was certainly costly for the visitors as Bath scored two quick fire tries to bring the score to a more respectable 14 - 19 at half time. Normal service was resumed for the men in black and gold as within 3 minutes Centre Juan de Jongh Crossed the white wash to claim a bonus point. Danny Cirpriani converted. Wasps lead 14 - 26 at this point. Bath didn't give in though and a few minutes later Paul Grant, crossed over and with the help of the TMO a try was awarded, to bring the hosts within 5 points again, Gaby Lovobalavu who wasn't expecting to start but because Kyle eastmond pulled out due to injury, 'Lobo' was forced into action and took his chance by scoring with about 17 minutes to go and sealed the deal for wasps and although Bath did score again Wasps took the full 5 points 26-31. 

After that 9 try thriller at the Rec Wasps will be relishing the chance to continue this fine form and take on recovering Saracens. Scoring tries for fun and from all angles Wasps are deadly and with a backline consisting of the likes of Willie Le Roux, Christian Wade, Marcus Watson, and Danny Cirpriani, plus more it's no real surprise. Dai Young Wasps DoR squashed any rumours of him being approached by the Wales national team by committing to achieving success with Wasps, and also dodged questions brilliantly on the contract renewals of Danny Cirpriani and James Haskell, who of course wasps would like to regain the services of, they appear to have stability and ability now to become a very difficult team to beat and ones to watch yet again. They will be hoping to go one step further this season and lift the Premiership trophy for the first time since 2008. 

Wasps lost to Saracens in 2015 at the Ricoh but since then it has become a fortress and not many teams come and take points from last season's runners-up. 

Along with their backline wasps have a strong pack with the likes of Jake Cooper-Wooley, Ashley Johnson, James Haskell and South African Nizaam Carr filling in for the injured Nathan Hughes. 

A potential Wasps team could be

Simon McIntyre, Ashley Johnson, Jake Cooper-Wooley, Joe Launchbury, Will Rowlands, James Haskell ©, Guy Thompson, Nizaam Carr, Joe Simpson, Danny Cirpriani, Marcus Watson, Willie Le Roux, Juan De Jongh, Christian Wade, Rob Miller

Replacements

Tom Cruse, Ben Harris, Marty Moore, James Gaskell, Thomas Young, Dan Robson, Gaby Lovobalavu, Guy Armitage

Saracens have finally escaped from their losing streak, of 7 games in a row which is their worst run in 15 years, beating Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Christmas Eve, thanks largely to a terrific performance from Jackson Wray and a try from Hooker, Jamie George, who scored a hat trick last time he played Wasps. Last week Saracens won with a try bonus point over a determined Worcester Warriors who are all but safe really now. 46 - 31. Director of Rugby Mark McCall stated he was disappointed with the Patchy performance. The European champions have been given some good news for the New year, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola have been declared fit, and Liam Williams is not too far away from being available for selection. Finding form at the right time and having players return from injury and also playing better rugby things are looking positive for Saracens. Mike Rhodes returned last week and also a mention to Richard Wigglesworth who returned from injury ahead of schedule, is likely to make his 200th appearance for the Men in Black should he feature this weekend. 

Saracens with their tremendous line speed and wolf pack defence lead brilliantly by Brad Barritt will be looking to contain Wasps and force some errors which they can capatalise on. Saracens also are likely to score tries and if speedster Nathan Earle features he can leave defence in his wake. Owen Farrell, recently voted the best rugby player in the world (beating the likes of Beauden Barrett)will be marshaling the game from Fly half. And the breakdown will be vital in deciding who goes on to win this monster clash! 

A likely Saracens line up could be:

Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Vincent Koch, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Mike Rhodes, Jackson Wray, Billy Vunipola, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Sean Maitland, Brad Barritt ©, Duncan Taylor, Nathan Earle, Alex Goode

Replacements:

Christopher Tolofua, Richard Barrington, Juan Figallo, George Kruis, Schalk Burger, Ben Spencer, Alex Lozowski, Chris Wyles 

Officials

Ref: Wayne Barnes (191st Game) a new record, congratulations

Assistant Referees: Adam Leal and Greg MacDonald

TMO: Sean Davey

Citing Officer: Paul Burke

Match Prediction : Saracens by 5 points