sport

Wasps focused on home comforts

Wasps are ready to complete an impressive week's work by booking their place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Six days after they moved into the Aviva Premiership title play-off zone, a bonus-point success against Italian minnows Mogliano at Adams Park will guarantee they win Pool Three.

Bayonne's failure to clinch a bonus point in beating Newport Gwent Dragons on Thursday means Wasps are poised for top spot ahead of next Thursday's away appointment with the Dragons.

"This is a game we will be expected to win and if we get our focus right there is no reason why we shouldn't," Wasps rugby director David Young said.

"You have to do the basics well first before you can think about scoring tries, and I don't expect the game to be won in the first 20 minutes.

"Knowing we can qualify with maximum points is a motivation, but our focus is on securing a home quarter-final, which means that our trip to Rodney Parade next week will be massive, whatever happens tomorrow."

Young's team selection reflects his desire to get the job done.

Although there are eight changes from the side that accounted for Premiership opponents Bath last Sunday, Young's line-up still contains internationals like centre Andrea Masi, fly-half Nicky Robinson, prop Tim Payne and flanker James Haskell.

England number eight prospect Billy Vunipola also starts, with Wasps knowing that bonus-point victories in their last two Challenge Cup fixtures will guarantee a home quarter-final.

Bath, on the back of four successive bonus-point victories, will wrap up their qualifying pool if they defeat Recreation Ground visitors Agen on Saturday.

The runaway Pool Four leaders, who would have a second chance at home to Bucharest next weekend if Agen triumph, show nine changes following last weekend's league defeat against Wasps.

Injuries sideline the likes of half-backs Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens, centre Matt Banahan and lock Dominic Day, so there are opportunities for Tom Heathcote and Mark McMillan, with Ben Williams and Dan Hipkiss forging Bath's midfield combination.

Bath's all-international front-row of Paul James, Lee Mears and David Wilson is retained, but there are back-row places for Will Skuse and Nick Koster alongside skipper Francois Louw.

Unlike Wasps and Bath, Worcester do not have control of their own destiny as the race for quarter-final places gathers pace.

The Warriors should collect bonus victories from their final Pool Two fixtures, starting against Rovigo in northern Italy on Saturday.

But French challengers Perpignan would also expect a similar 10-point haul after appointments with Gernika and Rovigo, and in the event of finishing tied alongside Worcester they would progress after outscoring Warriors 2-1 on tries over their two meetings last month.

"We have to maintain our focus and make sure we come away from the game with at least four tries to put the pressure on Perpignan," Worcester assistant coach Nigel Redman said.

The Warriors show 10 changes following last weekend's narrow Premiership home defeat against Leicester, with Errie Claassens, Andy Short, Danny Gray, Ollie Hayes and Blair Cowan among those handed starts.

London Welsh, meanwhile, should have few problems accounting for Kassam Stadium visitors Prato in Pool Five on Saturday, but Stade Francais will win the pool if they overcome Grenoble this weekend.