Amlin Challenge Cup 2014: Bath recall Peter Stringer for Wasps semi-final
Amlin Challenge Cup 2014: Bath recall experienced No9 Peter Stringer for semi-final against London Wasps
Peter Stringer is recalled to the Bath starting XV as Mike Ford make six changes for Sunday’s Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final at London Wasps.
The former Munster and Ireland scrum-half, 36, is no stranger to European finals, winning the Heineken Cup twice in 2006 and 2008 and suffering defeats in 2000 and 2002.
Bath have moved into third place in the Aviva Premiership after their bonus-point win over Worcester Warriors last week, but are determined to compete on both fronts and add to their success in 2008 when they won the tournament at the third attempt.
If we can play to our potential there is no reason why we can’t get over the line
Clermont Auvergne-bound Nick Abdendanon keeps his place at full-back and is joined in the back three by Semesa Rokoduguni—who comes in for the benched Anthony Watson—and the dangerous Matt Banahan, who switches from outside centre to left wing.
Jonathan Joseph comes takes Banahan’s place in the midfield to partner Kyle Eastmond, with George Ford partnering Stringer in the half-backs.
Anthony Perenise comes in for England international Dave Wilson at tighthead prop to partner loosehead Nathan Catt and hooker Rob Webber in the front row.
Dominic Day replaces Dave Attwood in the engine room alongside captain Stuart Hooper with Guy Mercer in for Carl Mearns at openside, and Matt Garvey and Leroy Houston continuing at blindside and number 8, respecitively.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has made just one change from the side that defeated Gloucester in The Stinger at Twickenham last week as Wasps look to reach the Challenge Cup final for the first time since 2003 when they defeated Bath 48-30 in a thriller at the Madejski Stadium.
Phil Swainston comes in at tighthead prop in place of the injured Jake Cooper-Woolley to partner Matt Mullan and Carlo Festuccia in the front row.
Joe Launchbury and Kearnan Myall continue in the engine room with the threatening back row featuring Ashley Johnson, James Haskell and Nathan Hughes.
Andy Goode continues as first-choice outside-half alongside Joe Simpson in the half-backs with Elliot Daly and captain Chris Bell in the midfield.
Dangerous wing Tom Varndell and Will Helu will offer plenty of pace and power with Andrea Masi completing the back three.
“This is a massive challenge for us,” said Young. “They’ve beaten us comfortably twice and been the better team on both occasions.
“I think we showed enough in the second game to give us some encouragement though, and if we can play to our potential there is no reason why we can’t get over the line.”
London Wasps: Andrea Masi; Will Helu, Elliot Daly, Chris Bell (captain), Tom Varndell; Andy Goode, Joe Simpson; Matt Mullan, Carlo Festuccia, Phil Swainston, Joe Launchbury, Kearnan Myall, Ashley Johnson, James Haskell, Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: Tom Lindsay, Simon McIntyre, Taione Vea, Tom Palmer, Sam Jones; Charlie Davies, Joe Carlisle, Charlie Hayter.
Bath: Nick Abendanon; Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, Matt Banahan; George Ford, Peter Stringer; Nathan Catt, Rob Webber, Anthony Perenise, Stuart Hooper (captain), Dominic Day, Matt Garvey, Guy Mercer, Leroy Houston.
Replacements: Ross Batty, Paul James, David Wilson, Alafoti Fa’osiliva, Carl Fearns; Micky Young, Gavin Henson, Anthony Watson.
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)