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Team News ahead of London Wasps vs Bath Rugby

28 January 2005

25 January 2005
London Wasps' Director of Rugby, Warren Gatland, has named his side for this Saturday's sold-out Zurich Premiership game against Bath at the Causeway Stadium, kick-off 5:35pm. The backrow sees Joe Worsley and Lawrence Dallaglio exchanging positions. The side also has James Brooks starting at flyhalf and includes youngster Warren Fury.

Speaking ahead of the game, Gatland said: "Games between Wasps and Bath always produce titanic tussles, especially amongst the forwards. Looking at recent results between the clubs, amazingly, three points have been the winning margin in the last three games. Like us, Bath failed to progress to the latter stages of the Heineken Cup and will be looking to bounce back with a good run in to the end of the season. They had an excellent cup win away to Sale last week, which suggests Saturday will be another close contest."

Gatland has included 19-year-old scrumhalf, Warren Fury, in the side. The youngster has missed the majority of this season due to a sternum injury, but impressed the coaching staff with his performance during Monday night's Zurich A League game against Harlequins. He was part of the England Junior National Academy and U19 FIRA squads last season. He played for the first team when he replaced Matt Dawson against the Llanelli Scarlets during the Zurich Anglo-Celtic Challenge last August.

Players unavailable for selection due to injury are: Stuart Abbott (leg), Ian Clarke (back), Phil Greening (knee), John Hart (ribs) Trevor Leota (leg), Mark Lock (foot), Peter Richards (knee) and Fraser Waters (ankle).

Please note, London Wasps will play the South African Super 12 team, the Investec Stormers at the Causeway Stadium, on 13 February, kick-off 12-noon.

The team is �

15Mark Van Gisbergen
14Josh Lewsey
13Rob Hoadley
12Ayoola Erinle
11Tom Voyce
10James Brooks
9Matt Dawson

1Craig Dowd
2Ben Gotting
3Tim Payne
4Simon Shaw
5Richard Birkett
6Lawrence Dallaglio (Capt)
7Jonny O'Connor
8Joe Worsley

16Jonny Barrett
17Will Green
18Tom Rees
19George Skivington
20Warren Fury
21Alex King
22Edd Thrower

Bath Rugby News

Bath Rugby welcome back Alex Crockett, Lee Best and Martyn Wood for Saturday's Zurich Premiership showdown against London Wasps at the Causeway Stadium on Saturday afternoon (5.35ko).

For scrum half Wood, the return to bench duty is the first step towards a full comeback after what has been an incredibly frustrating middle section to the season. He has played just once since sustaining a niggling hamstring injury back in November, but is now fully fit and ready to take his place in the squad. Best, who has been suffering from a groin problem in the last few week, is also named on the bench. Alex Crockett returns to the starting line up after pulling up in the warm up prior to the game. With Club Captain Jonathan Humphreys ruled out with a niggling heel injury, Lee Mears starts at hooker with England Under 21 squad member Dave Ward coming up to the bench.

Bath Rugby enter the match on the back of an impressive victory against Sale Sharks seven days ago when Chris Malone was the hero with a coolly struck injury time touchline conversion. Malone, who has recorded the most try assists in the league with eight has been in good form of late and believes that the whole side travel to High Wycombe coming into form. "We are building at the moment. We have been playing some pretty good rugby of late and we will travel there on Saturday with the mind set of to continue to build on our performance and see what we come up with."

Bath Rugby have not beaten the Zurich Premiership champions in their last three attempts, but he states that the matches are generally incredibly tight, intense affairs that are decided by one or two mistakes "Every game that we place against Wasps are tight," he explained. "The result is usually decided by one mistake with both defences dominating."

Malone dismisses talk that Wasps are vulnerable at the moment with injuries in the centres, suggesting that they have some quality attacking players as well as a solid foundation from the pack. "They predominantly put out the same pack every week and that invariably gets them good ball. Their backs can cut you in you two if you let them with the likes of Tom Voyce and Ayoola Erinle good in that area whilst Alex King has been doing that sort of thing for years."

What if the match comes down to the final kick of the game as it did at Stockport on Friday? Well Malone is confident that if he is handed the kicking duties, he can repeat the ice-cold performance. "I think about the same things that I do in training. I knew that I had to kick it to win the game. You just try and shut out the crowd."

For Bath Rugby supporters who are unable to make it to the game tomorrow, the match will be shown live on the giant screen in the Bath Rugby Clubhouse. Doors will open at 4.30pm.

15 Matt PERRY
10 Chris MALONE
1 David BARNES
3 Duncan BELL
4 Steve BORTHWICK (capt)
7 Michael LIPMAN

16 Dave WARD
17 Matthew STEVENS
20 Lee BEST
21 Martin WOOD
22 Ryan DAVIS

29 Jan, Causeway Stadium, 5.35pm (live on Sky Sports)

Summary of meetings between the teams in the Premiership:
Played 17;
Wasps Won 8 47.1%;
Bath Won 8 47.1%;
Drawn 1 5.9%;
Biggest Win for Wasps 35 - 0 07 Feb 1999;
Biggest Win for Bath 36 - 12 27 Aug 2000;
Wasps top try scorer vs Bath Josh Lewsey 3 tries;
Wasps top points scorer vs Bath Alex King 69 points;
Bath top try scorer vs Wasps Jerry Guscott 4 tries;
Bath top points scorer vs Wasps Jon Preston 53 points.

Previous 10 Meetings

16 Oct 2004 ZP Wasps vs Bath 19 - 16 Recreation Ground Report
29 May 2004 F Wasps vs Bath 10 - 6 Twickenham Report
07 Feb 2004 ZP Wasps vs Bath 10 - 6 Recreation Ground Report
05 Oct 2003 ZP Wasps vs Bath 19 - 20 Causeway Stadium Report
06 Apr 2003 ZP Wasps vs Bath 36 - 17 Causeway Stadium Report
14 Sep 2002 ZP Wasps vs Bath 27 - 27 Recreation Ground Report
12 May 2002 ZP Wasps vs Bath 24 - 22 Recreation Ground Report
02 Dec 2001 ZP Wasps vs Bath 23 - 10 Loftus Road Report
06 May 2001 ZCP Wasps vs Bath 31 - 36 Loftus Road Report
17 Mar 2001 ZP Wasps vs Bath 13 - 16 Recreation Ground R

Wasps only Premiership defeat since round two was 24-27 at Worcester on 26 November, whilst their last defeat in the competition at High Wycombe came when Sale were the visitors on 11 September.

Bath have won their last two matches, which have also been away from home, at Bourgoin in the European Cup and at Sale in the English cup. However, in the Zurich Premiership they have lost their last two to Sale and Saracens.

Bath have beaten Wasps only once in their last six clashes - 20-19 at the Causeway Stadium in the Premiership in October 2003. Bath have actually lost just one of their three previous visits to High Wycombe - 17-36 in the Premiership in April 2003.