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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, November 9th 2018

Preview: Wasps vs Bristol Bears


Last time out:

Bristol Rugby 21-36 Wasps - Sun, 16th Apr 2017, Ashton Gate

Bristol Rugby's relegation from the top flight was confirmed after suffering a 36-21 defeat to league leaders Wasps at Ashton Gate.

Jason Woodward’s try had given the hosts an early lead, but Wasps hit back with 36 unanswered points, as tries from Josh Bassett (2), Tommy Taylor, Joe Simpson, Christian Wade and Thomas Young completed a comfortable win for Dai Young’s men.

Jack O’Connell and Nick Fenton-Wells crossed late on for Bristol, but it proved little more than a consolation as they slipped to a 17th league defeat of the season.


Head-to-head:

Callum Sheedy

Sheedy captains the side for the second week running, this time alongside Steven Luatua. 

The fly-half has been in impressive form this season, putting in a series of eye-catching attacking displays for Bristol Bears, but perhaps faces his toughest opponent on Sunday, in the form of All Black, Lima Sopoaga. 

Lima Sopoaga

The former Highlanders and Southland fly half, who has won 18 New Zealand caps, joined Wasps for the 2018/19 season.

Renowned across the globe as an exciting attacking talent who is also a consistent goal kicker and fine game manager, Dai Young has pulled off a major coup in bringing one of the world game’s leading No.10’s from Dunedin to Coventry.

 


John Afoa

John Afoa joined Bristol Bears from West Country rivals, Gloucester during the summer, and has fast become a fans' favourite at Ashton Gate. 

The former All Black prop, who won 36 caps for his country, goes head to head with Jake Cooper-Wooley at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday. 

Jake Cooper-Wooley

The tight head prop joined Wasps at the beginning of the 2013/14 season and quickly cemented himself in the starting line-up.

His performances in the black-and-gold No.3 shirt also captured the attention of the England selectors, who included him in the Saxons squad that toured South Africa in June 2016.


Word from the camps:

Mark Irish

"No matter who plays for them, they’ve got a very good brand of rugby. From a forwards perspective, they’ve got a good pack no matter who they pick.

"So, for us, the challenge is: can we take that step forward from last week? The Ricoh is a tough place to go."

Craig Hampson

"They’re an exciting club to play against, every time they play they throw something different at you. [Pat] Lam’s obviously an inventive coach, trying to change the game up all the time.

"There’s actually not a lot of people who are still there, from when I was there actually, playing wise. But, there’s still a few of the local boys, Joe Joyce, Jack Tovey and a few of those lads are still there. It’ll be good to get out on the pitch against them."


Form guide:

Bristol Bears take on Wasps in the final round of Premiership Rugby Cup inter-pool fixtures this weekend, with the Coventry-based side still winless in the competition.

It was differing fortunes for the two sides last weekend with Wasps losing to Northampton thanks to a last-gasp Mitch Eadie try, converted by James Grayson.

Meanwhile, Bristol Bears secured an impressive win against Gloucester, which included the long-awaited debut of Charles Piutau from the replacements bench.

It was an important result for Bristol off the back of a heavy defeat to Saints at Franklin’s Gardens, while Wasps made it two defeats from two in the Premiership Rugby Cup after a round one defeat to Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Bristol Bears: LLW
Wasps: LLL


Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

Sunny spells and isolated showers through the morning, fairly breezy and showers may interrupt the sunshine at times. Maximum temperature 11 °C.


How to buy tickets:

To purchase tickets for Sunday's game at the Ricoh Arena, click here.


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