Melville calls on Wasps to learn from mistakes

Nigel Melville has named nine of last year's winning line-up for Saturday's' Tetley's Bitter Cup final against Northampton.

The Wasps coach was able to select from a full-strength squad but there were few surprises in a side which will be led by Lawrence Dallaglio. The Londoners have faced Northampton three times this season and won their last Premiership encounter, at Franklin's Gardens on Tuesday.

However, having lost their Heineken Cup quarter-final against the Saints to a controversial late penalty from Paul Grayson, Wasps go into the game with vengeance in mind. That Northampton defeat was one of a series of high-profile losses in big games this season, but Melville insists his team are strong enough to stand up to the pressure.

"We are not a brittle side but we have been our own worst enemies at times," he said. "Because we are a young side, sometimes we don't have the sense to shut games down when we are in a winning position. We just want to score more tries and be entertaining. It is a hard lesson but one we are learning."

A repeat of last season's 29-19 win over Newcastle will see Wasps qualify for the European Cup and take the pressure off their final two league games against London Irish and Harlequins. One of the keys to victory will be the form of the Samoan hooker Trevor Leota. The front row has been in superb form since Melville signed the England hooker Phil Greening, but Leota angered the Northampton crowd with a series of crunching tackles on Tuesday and was sent to the sin-bin for a body- check on Martin Scelzo. However, Melville insists the man dubbed by Northampton's captain, Pat Lam, as "the hardest tackler in the world" is a fair player.

"Sometimes he feels a bit hard done by," said the Wasps coach. "He is a very powerful guy but he is not very big - his opportunities to make high tackles are limited. People are shocked by how hard he can hit but if you look at the video, it is not dirty, it is perfectly fair. It's just the way he plays and I am not too concerned about it."

Wasps have followed last year's pattern by spending time at Bisham Abbey in the build-up. However, Tuesday night's game meant a week-long preparation was impossible, although Melville does not see that as a particular problem.

"It was quite nice to have a game, actually," he said. "Instead of kicking each other, we have had someone else to kick and we couldn't have replicated the crowd noise and the scoreboard breaking down when we were in front. Maybe we have not had the time I would have wanted but we have gone through a few things on video and hopefully we will be fine."

Northampton's coach, John Steele, has named a 25-man squad for the match, although he is still awaiting the outcome of late tests before finalising his line-up. The winger Craig Moir (knee) and lock Jon Phillips (hamstring) are the main concerns, although both Lam and England captain Matt Dawson expect to start after shaking off shoulder injuries.

The squad includes two survivors from Northampton's last Twickenham visit when they lost the 1991 final to Harlequins. The England forward Tim Rodber is back, together with winger Harvey Thorneycroft, who could start if Scotland international Moir fails to recover in time.

Wasps (probable): J Lewsey; S Roiser, M Denney, R Henderson, K Logan; A King, M Wood; D Molloy, T Leota, W Green, S Shaw, A Reed, J Worsley, P Volley, L Dallaglio. Replacements: M Friday, J Ufton, F Waters, A Le Chevalier, D Macer, M Weedon, P Scrivener.

Northampton squad: Backs: N Beal H Thorneycroft, C Moir, B Cohen, M Tucker A Northey, A Bateman M Allen, P Grayson, S Hepher, M Dawson, D Malone; Forwards: G Pagel, M Stewart, M Scelzo, F Mendez, S Walter, R Metcalfe, A Newman, J Phillips, T Rodber, D Mackinnon, S Holmes, A Pountney, P Lam.

* The Newport centre Andy Marinos has been asked by the Welsh Rugby Union to produce documents to prove that he is eligible to play for Wales. The Zimbabwe-born Marinos played for Wales in their summer friendly against the United States at the Millennium Stadium.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'