PREVIEW: Wasps v Leicester Tigers
PREMIERSHIP SEMIFINAL: On Saturday Ricoh Arena becomes the twelfth venue to host a Premiership semifinal when Wasps welcome Leicester Tigers.
The two clubs met in five previous semifinals, but have never faced each other in the Premiership Semifinals.
The host, Wasps have had a stellar season and even grabbed five awards at the Premiership Rugby' annual ceremony.
Under the guidance of Dai Young - and with the help of players like Jimmy Gopperth, Christian Wade, Elliot Daly and Joe Launchbury - Wasps ended the season on top of the Premiership table.
However, Wasps' semi-finals performance seemed to lack that intensity. They have lost their last four semi-final appearances in all tournaments and in Premiership Rugby they have played in six previous semi-final fixtures winning four and losing two.
The visitors Leicester Tigers face a stern test this Saturday.
This is Leicester’s record-breaking 13th successive appearance in the semifinals and despite sneaking into the fourth spot the Tigers are eyeing their first Premiership title since 2013.
Probably one of the club with the richest history in the English tournament, the Tigers managed to end fourth despite three sacked coached and a host of injuries to key players.
Prediction: Wasps only defeat in the last seven rounds of Premiership Rugby was 13-32 at Harlequins on April 28. Wasps were the only side with a 100 percent winning record at home during the regular season, only failing to pick up maximum points twice – against Exeter in round One and Leicester in round 13. Wasps have not been defeated at the Ricoh Arena in Premiership Rugby since Saracens were the visitors on December 27, 2015.
Leicester Tigers only defeat in their last seven first team matches was 21-27 to Bath at Twickenham on April 8.
Wasps have won their last three fixtures against Leicester whilst the Tigers have visited Ricoh Arena on three previous occasions, winning once on their first visit in May 2015. Thus, Wasps will win this semifinal by 9 points.
Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Willie Le Roux, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Josh Bassett
Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Mike Williams, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Matt Smith
Date: Saturday, May 20
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 17.15 (17.15 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Thomas Foley, Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff