Wasps have lost both their last two meetings with Saracens – but both were at Allianz Park

Aviva PremiershipVenue: Ricoh Arena Date: Saturday, 6 May Kick-off: 16:00 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, updates on BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Premiership leaders Wasps expect a season’s best 30,000 crowd at the Ricoh Arena as they close the regular season at home to reigning champions Saracens.

Scrum-half Joe Simpson and stand-off Danny Cipriani return to a much-changed back line as Wasps seek a win to ensure themselves a home play-off semi-final.

Saracens rest players ahead of next Saturday’s European Champions Cup final with Clermont Auvergne at Murrayfield.

Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola brothers all miss out.

England hooker Jamie George and full-back Alex Goode are on the bench as Sarries start a season-closing run of what could prove to be four big Saturdays.

Their team shows eight changes from that which trailed against relegated Bristol at half-time last weekend before rallying with four second-half tries.

Schalk Brits, who made his 200th appearance for Saracens at Bristol, skippers a side which includes Wasps old boy Alex Lozowski starting at fly-half.

Apart from the return of Simpson and Cipriani, Wasps also make several positional switches in their backline, with Jimmy Gopperth at inside centre, Kurtley Beale moving to full-back and Willie Le Roux on the wing.

Following his late withdrawal last Friday through illness, Matt Symons returns at lock to partner captain Joe Launchbury.

Third-placed Sarries start the day two points adrift of Wasps and second-placed Exeter, who are at Gloucester. They could still finish top, if they win and Exeter fail to do so at Kingsholm. They can finish no lower than third as they are 15 points clear of Leicester, in fourth.

The big end-of-season dates

Wasps director of Rugby Dai Young:

“These are the kinds of games players and coaches want to be involved in. It’s set to be a huge contest, top of the table against the reigning Premiership and European Champions, with a home semi-final on the line and a record crowd for the season expected.

“To have over 30,000 is a huge boost for the squad. Whenever we’ve needed our supporters they have been there and this weekend is set to be another of those occasions.

“The challenge doesn’t get any greater than Saracens who are used to these kinds of occasions. Traditionally, Sarries’ game was built on a strong defence and strong set-piece, but they’ve expanded their game out of sight in the last couple of seasons and they’ve got quality players throughout all working hard for each other and they make very few mistakes.

“As much as we respect Saracens, we have plenty of strengths of our own and we have every confidence that we have the quality to beat any team on our day, if we produce the performance we know we’re capable of producing.”

Wasps: Beale; Wade, Daly, Gopperth, Le Roux; Cipriani, Simpson; Mullan, T Taylor, Cooper-Woolley, Launchbury (capt), Symons, Haskell, Young, Hughes.

Replacements: Johnson, McIntyre, Swainston, Myall, Thompson, Robson, Leiua, Bassett.

Saracens: Wyles; Ellery, Bosch, Tompkins, Maitland; Lozowski, Spencer; Lamositle, Brits (capt), Koch, Hamilton, Kruis, Rhodes, Wray, Burger.

Replacements: George, Barrington, Du Plessis, Isiekwe, Brown, H Taylor, Alex Goode, Earle.

Referee: Wayne Barnes.


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