Gloucester v Wasps, Aviva Premiership, September 25
Wasps out to silence the shed
September 23, 2010
Tom Varndell bagged a brace against Leicester last weekend © Getty Images
Wasps are on the road this weekend and face a tough task against Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday (ESPN, kick-off 14.30 BST).
A week on from a brilliant comeback victory over Leicester at Adams Park, Tony Hanks' men must overcome not only an inconsistent Gloucester side but also the notoriously noisy shed - who are baying for some good news.
The Cherry and Whites slumped to their second defeat of the season away to London Irish in the previous round, leaving only the narrowest of wins over bottom-placed Leeds as a positive from their season so far.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: After some indifferent displays from Nicky Robinson, Tim Taylor gets his chance to shine in the No.10 jersey. He will be hoping for a big performance.
Gloucester - Team News: As stated above, Taylor replaces Robinson at fly-half, while Tim Molenaar takes over from Mike Tindall in midfield. Nick Wood, Olivier Azam and Paul Doran-Jones form a revamped front-row and Dave Attwood gets the nod ahead of Alex Brown in the second row.
Wasps - Player to Watch: Serge Betsen has been consigned to the role of a replacement thus far this season. Consequently, the hard-hitting Frenchman will be determined to impress in his first start of the new campaign.
Wasps - Team News: Phil Vickery returns to skipper the side and he will be joined by Joe Ward in the Wasps front-row. Richard Birkett starts in the second-row, while Joe Worsley is joined by Betsen and Dan Ward-Smith in the back-row. Joe Simpson is back after a hamstring problem and takes over from Nic Berry at scrum-half.
Key Battle: Molenaar is teaming up with Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu in the Gloucester midfield and their showdown with Wasps duo Dominic Waldouck and Riki Flutey could prove crucial to the outcome of this game.
Trivia: Gloucester currently possess the Premiership's longest home winning run, having won their last eight games at Kingsholm.
Stats: Wasps have won their last five meetings with Gloucester, including four wins in all competitions last season.
Odds: Given Wasps' impressive recent record against the Cherry and Whites, Tony Hanks' troops are a generous 8/11 to triumph with Bet365.
"We were poor against them at home last year but performed reasonably well in the league match and the LV=Cup game down there. We have to get to grips with their blitz defence and focus on what we are, protecting ourselves in the right areas. They have a good back three and Dave Walder's a smart rugby player who kicks very well. We have to control possession." - Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath
"This week's game gives us an opportunity to build on last weekend's win and more importantly the second half performance. We have been able to freshen the squad up with a few changes and the likes of Serge Betsen and Richard Birkett are keen to make their mark." - Wasps director or rugby Tony Hanks
Fantasy: Wasps wing Tom Varndell has scored four tries in three Premiership starts so far this season, so he's a good bet in ESPN's Premiership Rugby Fantasy Game.
Prediction: Both sides are in need of a win. Wasps have been the more impressive of the two so far and we're backing them to get it.