sport

London Irish v Wasps preview

London Irish have included Chris Hala'ufia and Ofisa Treviranus in their side to face London Wasps in the Premiership on Sunday (12.05pm).

Treviranus comes in at openside flanker for Jebb Sinclair who is rested. Hala'ufia has recovered from the flu, which kept him out of last weekend's match, to be named at No 8.

Sailosi Tagicakibau has recovered from a knee injury and is named as a replacement. Bryn Evans will captain the side.

London Irish coach Brian Smith said ahead of the game: "Wasps are a formidable team riding high in the Aviva Premiership so they'll give us a very tough test on Sunday.

"In saying that we do pretty well against the top four teams at home and our boys are itching to put in a big performance for our supporters on Sunday."

Meanwhile, there are three changes for the men in black and gold from the Wasps side that beat Gloucester at Adams Park last weekend.

Two of those changes are in the pack. Will Taylor makes his first Aviva Premiership start, coming into the front row in the place of Phil Swainston who hasn't trained this week due to illness.

The other change sees Jonathan Poff return to the back-row, replacing Billy Vunipola, who is ruled out after picking up an injury whilst training with England.

That change sees Sam Jones move to No 8, with Poff coming in at seven.

The one change in the backs sees Elliot Daly, who has spent the majority of this week with England, return to the side, starting at outside centre, alongside Chris Bell.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has prepared his men for the threat of relegation battlers London Irish by reminding them just how desperate they were at the same stage last season.

Wasps secured their Aviva Premiership survival on the final day of last season but Young has overseen such a turnaround that Heineken Cup rugby is now a "realistic target".

At the other end of the table, London Irish are just one point off the bottom of the table and Young said: "We know that they are desperate for points and we know know exactly how much that can drive you after our experiences last season.

"I have no doubt they are targeting their home games hard and the fact that they beat Saracens there last time out highlights that."

A Wasps victory would take them back above Gloucester and into the top four and they feature three changes from the side that beat the Cherry and Whites last weekend.

There are three changes for the men in black and gold from the side that beat Gloucester at Adams Park last weekend.

Prop Will Taylor makes his first Premiership start and Jonathan Poff returns to the back row, replacing Billy Vunipola who was injured on England duty.

Elliot Daly, who also spent the majority of this week training with the national team, return at outside centre alongside Chris Bell.

"Top six is now a very realistic target for us and if we can secure Heineken Cup qualification after what we went through last year that will be a huge boost," Young added.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (c), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.

Replacements: 16 Davy McGregor, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Jon Fisher, 22 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 23 Jack Moates.

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 James Cannon, 3 Will Taylor, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.

Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 Alex Rae, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Charlie Hayter.