Round-up: Veteran Dawe steps into breach for battle at Sale
Sunday 19 December 2004
An age gap of some 28 years spans the youngest and oldest participants who are set to figure in today's quartet of sixth-round Powergen Cup ties. Both Danny Cipriani, Wasps' 17-year-old schoolboy fly-half, and former England hooker Graham Dawe, now 45 and player-coach at Plymouth Albion, have been named among their teams' replacements.
Cipriani has earned his spot on the bench away to National League One leaders Bristol after impressing Wasps' director of rugby Warren Gatland during an A game against Bath last month.
And he readily confesses to having stars in his eyes. "I have opened the door for Lawrence Dallaglio but never actually talked to him before. I hear his team talk before the match is very inspirational. I am just really excited," he said.
After losing their last three games, Wasps' Heineken Cup defence is hanging by a thread and their Premiership ambitions have been dented. "We need a win on the board to make a statement to the rest of the Premiership that we are not far off our best," said England wing Josh Lewsey, a former Bristol player.
Dawe and his men travel to Sale, last season's beaten finalists and currently third in the Premiership. The home side rest Jason Robinson and Charlie Hodgson, but their England colleague Chris Jones returns after a hand injury.
Jonny Wilkinson, still feeling his way back to fitness following an arm injury, will be on the bench when Newcastle open their defence of the trophy against Saracens at Vicarage Road. But Rob Andrew, Falcons' director of rugby, has selected a strong line-up with Dave Walder at fly-half. "The Powergen Cup is very important. Not only is it the easiest way to qualify for the Heineken Cup, it is massive in its own right," he said.
Pertemps Bees, last season's shock quarter-final winners over Wasps, have had their preparations for today's visit to Leeds hampered by an injury crisis which has led to five successive league defeats.
Harry Bowcott, the oldest living British Lion and Welsh international, has died, aged 97. The former Cambridge University, Cardiff and London Welsh fly-half won eight caps with Wales from 1929-33 and played four Tests in New Zealand and one against Australia on the 1930 Lions tour.
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