Wasps v Saracens preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
Wasps host Saracens at the Ricoh arena on Sunday:14:00 kick-off
George Smith and Nathan Hughes are ruled out for the hosts through injury
League leaders Sarries head to Coventry looking to extend their unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season
Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young is forced to make signficicant changes to his side due to injuries ahead of their testing clash against Saracens at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday.
In the backline, there are starts for Dan Robson at scrum half and Alapati Leiua in the midfield, making his first start since returning from injury.
There is a new-look to the back row, as George Smith and Nathan Hughes are forced to miss the game through injury. Skipper James Haskell is therefore joined by Thomas Young and Guy Thompson, who make their second starts of the season.
Joe Launchbury and James Gaskell form the second row partnership, with Wales international Bradley Davies ready to provide reinforcement from the bench.
Meanwhile, league leaders Saracens head to Coventry looking to extend their unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season.
The reigning Aviva Premiership champions will be skippered by centre Brad Barritt, who continues to lead the side in the absence of club captain, Alistair Hargreaves.
In the backs, Alex Goode retains the No15 shirt and the in-form full-back is joined by Chris Ashton and Chris Wyles in the Sarries back three.
In midfield, Barritt will combine with Scotland international Duncan Taylor, with Taylor named at outside centre – Marcelo Bosch is named on the bench.
Owen Farrell continues at fly-half with scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth also named to start.
Up front, Jamie George rotates with Schalk Brits and comes back into the starting XV and will pack down with Mako Vunipola and Petrus Du Plessis.
England international George Kruis is back after a slight knock, and will start at second row alongside Maro Itoje.
In the back row, Will Fraser starts at openside flanker with Michael Rhodes named on the opposite flank while Billy Vunipola will wear the Saracens No8 jersey against his former club.
Saracens have won their last eight fixtures with Wasps in all competitions since Wasps 20-15 victory in the London double header in September 2011.
Sarries have visited the Ricoh Arena just twice before, beating Wasps there in March 2015 but losing the European Cup semi-final to Munster in 2008.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wasps: Charles Piutau
The fullback, who will be playing on the wing, has incredible individual skill, which makes him one of the most unpredictable, exciting players to watch in the Aviva Premiership today. The All Black will certainly be a big loss when he joins Ulster next season.
Saracens: Chris Ashton
The winger is probably still the most natural scorer in the English game and served a timely reminder to new England head coach Eddie Jones of his talents last weekend with a crisply taken hat-trick for Saracens as the London club continued their perfect start to the season with a 55-13 win against Allianz Park.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch
Date: Sunday, December 27
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell, Roger Baileff
TMO: Trevor Fisher