London Irish v Wasps preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups, odds and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
London Irish take on Wasps in the second match of the Twickenham double header on Saturday: 17:30 kick-off
Rugby World Cup winner Ben Franks will make his Aviva Premiership debut for the Exiles
James Haskell skippers the Wasps during his 100th Premiership appearance for the club
London Irish have named their team to play Wasps at Twickenham in the Aviva Premiership London Double Header with Rugby World Cup winning All Black Ben Franks making his Exiles debut.
Franks will return to the home of rugby for the first time since winning rugby’s greatest prize, the Rugby World Cup, last month. The 31-year-old lines up alongside Tom Court and David Paicein the front row while Eoin Sheriff partners captain Matt Symons in the second-row. Elsewhere, Joe Trayfoot, Blair Cowan and Ofisa Treviranus are named in the back-row.
Scott Steele returns to the side to start at scrum half while their reliable goalkicker Chris Noakes starts outside him at fly-half. Johnny Williams and Aseli Tikoirotuma start in the centre with Tom Fowlie, Alex Lewington and Topsy Ojo in the back-three.
Meanwhile, James Haskell skippers the Wasps squad and is set to make his 100th Premiership appearance for the club, while centre Ben Jacobs lines up for his 50th Premiership appearance.
Bradley Davies has returned from illness to take a place on the bench, but Joe Launchbury, who has been backed by Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young to be England’s next Captain, misses out due to a hamstring strain.
London Irish’s only victory in any tournament since April came at home to Agen in round 1 of the European Challenge Cup
The Exiles have lost on their last six visits to Twickenham since beating Saracens there in the London double header in 2010
Wasps only loss in their last five fixtures in all tournaments was 16-24 at Leicester in round 3 of Aviva Premiership Rugby
The visitors have lost just one of their last four Premiership Rugby fixtures against the Exiles
PLAYERS TO WATCH
London Irish: Alex Lewington
Wing-wizard Alex Lewington was in a rich vein of form last season crossing the whitewash 12 times, including 10 times in the Aviva Premiership. This included hat tricks against Saracens and London Welsh and a brace against Sale. He will without doubt be the Exiles greatest threat.
Wasps: Joe Simpson
Joe Simpson has been outstanding for Wasps this season. The scrum-half refused to jump ship when the club went through financial instability two seasons ago and is now part of a team who can compete with any club in world rugby at the moment.
London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Tom Fowlie, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Ofisa Treviranus 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 5 Matt Symons (c), 4 Eoin Sheriff, 3 Ben Franks, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Tom Smallbone, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Luke Narraway, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Theo Brophy-Clews, 23 Fergus Mulchrone.
Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Brendan Macken.
Date: Saturday 28 November
Venue: Twickenham Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Sean Davey