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London Wasps name team to face Cardiff Blues

29th September 2006

London Wasps Director of Rugby, Ian McGeechan has made a number of changes for their EDF Energy Cup clash on Saturday against Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park, kick off 2.30pm.

Fraser Waters returns from injury to make his first appearance since the opening day of the season at inside centre, whilst it's all change in the engine room as Richard Birkett and Martin Purdy make their first starts of the season together in the second row.

Both locks have returned from injury to perform well in recent second team matches and earn their spots, as has prop Alistair McKenzie and replacement lock George Skivington, the latter putting in an exceptional performance playing his first game in six months for the A team at Bath last Monday.

Tom Rees also wins his first start since running out against Saracens on 2nd September and joins up with Dan Leo, who has shaken off a lower leg injury that forced him off the pitch last weekend.

Josh Lewsey and Tom Voyce swap shirts in what remains a unchanged and potent back three - with the Premiership's leading try scorer, Paul Sackey continuing at right wing.

Jeremy Staunton starts at fly half for the first time this season, resuming his partnership with fellow Irishman Eoin Reddan at halfback.

Simon Shaw (knee) and Alex King (calf) are both unavailable due to injury whilst Joe Worsley and Tom Palmer are rested.

Cardiff Blues are expecting a bumper crowd of over 10,000 supporters for tomorrow afternoon’s EDF Energy Cup clash against London Wasps.

Ticket sales have been going well all week and with a dry sunny day expected supporters who have not bought their tickets yet at are asked to arrive early at the ground and to bring cash where possible to pay for their tickets in order to avoid delays.

Ian McGeechan is clearly looking forward to launching Wasps' Cup defence at Cardiff tomorrow.

"I think this is a good competition and last year we had the huge incentive of the chance to play at the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham in the semi final and final. Added to that is the revival of the rivalry across the Bristol Channel, and the challenges of playing against the Welsh sides gives players on both sides extra opportunities to learn and gather some new experience. It's important for the development of all players that they get that sort of variety of games under their belts.

"Playing sides like Cardiff, with their huge tradition and history of success again gives us a slightly different focus to the previous weeks in the Premiership and it will be good to meet and pit our wits against Dai Young and Rob Howley again. They've got some quality players, constructive forwards and good runners in Tom Shanklin and Ben Blair. Cardiff are playing consistently and have a good run of form under their belts, so Saturday's game will test us to the full.

"Many of the team will not have played at Cardiff Arms Park before, and when the crowd get behind the home team they will make it a difficult environment, which will test some of the younger players, but I'm confident that we have some exciting combinations on show and we are looking forward to seeing how they perform against some quality Welsh opposition."

London Wasps team to face Cardiff Blues in the EDF Energy Cup at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, 30th September, KO 2.30pm is:

Team: Josh Lewsey, Paul Sackey, Ayoola Erinle, Fraser Waters, Tom Voyce, Jeremy Staunton, Eoin Reddan, Alistair McKenzie, Joe Ward, Peter Bracken, Martin Purdy, Richard Birkett, Dan Leo, Tom Rees, John Hart (c)

Replacement: Raphael Ibanez, Tim Payne, George Skivington, James Haskell, Simon Amor, Dave Walder, James Brooks