Wasps v Newcastle preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
In the starting XV, Christian Wade makes a welcome return to Wasps’ back line after a three-month injury lay-off, while Thomas Young comes in at openside with George Smith available to provide reinforcement from the bench.
Wasps’ co-captain Matt Mullan is named among the replacements having returned from England camp and new signing Siale Piutau, elder brother of Charles, is in line to make his Wasps’ debut this weekend.
Meanwhile, Andy Goode will make his first Aviva Premiership start for Newcastle at Fly Half this weekend, as the team head to the Ricoh Arena at the halfway stage of the league campaign.
Goode, who joined the Falcons on a three-month contract over Christmas, showed every bit of his 231 matches worth of Premiership experience last weekend, as he combined with his teammates to engineer a memorable 26-19 win over Harlequins.
His promotion from the bench to the starting XV is the only change to the team that started at Kingston Park last Sunday, with the Falcons coaching team opting for a settled line-up for the team’s first visit to Wasps new home.
Wasps have won their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters, at home to Worcester and at Northampton, but have not won three in a row in the tournament since New Year 2015
The hosts record at Ricoh Arena in Premiership rugby this season is won three, lost two
Newcastle climbed off the foot of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table courtesy of a second victory in the last three rounds, at home to Harlequins on Sunday
The Tynesiders have not won away from home since a visit to London Irish in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last February while in Premiership Rugby, their only away win since October 2013 came at London Welsh on October 20
Wasps are unbeaten in their last four encounters with Newcastle since Falcons 14-10 win at Adams Park in May 2012
This is Newcastle’s first visit to Ricoh Arena – their last visit to the city of Coventry being in November 1996 for a Division 2 clash which Coventry RFC won 19-18 at the old Coundon Road.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wasps: Jimmy Gopperth
Newcastle: Andy Goode
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 James Downey, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth (c), 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Alex Rieder, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Cannon, 20 George Smith, 21 Jamie Stevenson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Siale Piutau
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Michael Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Nili Latu, 6 Will Welch (c), 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Mark Wilson, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Richard Mayhew, Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Marcus Watson
Date: Saturday, February 6
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey, Andy Watson
TMO: Keith Lewis