In today's Aviva Premiership fixture, London Wasps are at home to Northampton Saints. Both sides won in the Heineken Cup last time out.
The Wasps director of rugby, Tony Hanks, said: "This game is massive for us in terms of driving our place in the league. We are looking forward to a second consecutive week of rugby on home turf, having spent much of the season on the road. The Adams Park crowd really got behind us last weekend [Wasps beat Glasgow 38-26] and we will be hoping for much of the same."
The England prop Tim Payne is back for Wasps after a suspension; the the full-back Mark van Gisbergen, centre Dominic Waldouck and the flankers Joe Worsley and Tom Rees also start. Dan Ward-Smith moves up from the back row to lock, partnering Simon Shaw.
Northampton's director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, said: "The Premiership is proving to be a tight and competitive league this season and we know that we have to keep picking up points. So we will have to play with control and impose our game-plan if we are to return home with a positive result."
The England full-back Ben Foden will start for Northampton, after missing last week's 31-27 win in Edinburgh under the terms of the England elite player squad agreement.
In the Championship yesterday, the former England hooker Phil Greening's London Welsh side took their chance to close on the leaders, Worcester – who lost for the first time this season on Friday, at home to the Cornish Pirates – by beating Bristol 39-14 at the Old Deer Park. Welsh are second in the table, three points behind Worcester. Plymouth Albion lost 41-3 at home to Doncaster and Rotherham beat Esher 25-22.
In the Magners League, Leinster won 18-6 in Connacht. Isa Nacewa and Dominic Ryan scored Leinster's tries and Jonathan Sexton kicked eight points. Ian Keatley kicked two penalties for Connacht. The Newport-Gwent Dragons beat Aironi 36-5 at Rodney Parade. Aled Brew and Adam Hughes (twice) scored the Welsh region's tries; Jason Tovey kicked two conversions and five penalties and Matthew Jones kicked a conversion. Giovanbattista Venditti scored the Italian side's try.
The New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter expects to be fit for next Saturday's match against Australia in Hong Kong. After an All Blacks training session in Auckland, Carter, who has been out for two months after having an operation on his ankle, said: "I'd be confident to start and sort of manage it depending on how long I play. It is touch and go whether I'd get through 80."
The All Blacks' management will name their side later in the week than usual, on Thursday, in an attempt to disrupt the Wallabies' preparations.Reuse content