Joe Launchbury makes Wasps return ahead of clash against Northampton Saints

Joe Launchbury returns to Wasps starting line-up
Joe Launchbury returns to Wasps starting line-up

Wasps have received a much-needed boost ahead of their Gallagher Premiership clash against Northampton Saints on Sunday with skipper Joe Launchbury returning to the line-up.

The England international has been out of action since September after sustaining a knee injury during the game against Leicester Tigers and has underwent a surgery to address the problem.

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old has made sufficient recovery and is now set to make a comeback in a bid to help Dai Young's side revive their campaign as they slipped to eighth place in the Premiership.

Meanwhile, hooker Tom Cruse will reach another milestone on Sunday as he is set to make his 50th appearance for the club and will be accompanied by Jake Cooper-Woolley and Zurabi Zhvania in the front-row.

The other changes sees Juan de Jongh returning to the XV replacing Michael Le Bourgeois while Nathan Hughes is named on the bench.

“Northampton are close rivals and there’s never much between the two teams traditionally but we haven’t had the results we’d have liked in the last couple of games, certainly at the Ricoh, so it’s all about getting the result," said Wasps director of rugby Young.

“We’ve got to do the basics really well, cut out errors and take opportunities. If you look at last weekend we had 60 per cent possession and territory but squandered chances. Coaches always talk about performances but now the result is a bit more important.

“Harlequins sit in fourth and they’ve won five games – the same amount as us. If you can win a couple of games, you can rocket up the table but equally you can shoot down the table if you lose a couple.

“This is the last game of this block so we want to finish strongly before the next block of league matches over the Six Nations.”

Wasps line-up: Willie le Roux, Josh Bassett, Michele Campagnaro, Juan de Jongh, Elliot Daly, Lima Sopoaga, Dan Robson, Nizaam Carr, Thomas Young, Brad Shields, Will Rowlands, Joe Launchbury (c), Jake Cooper-Woolley, Tom Cruse, Zurabi Zhvania

Replacements: Antonio Harris, Ben Harris, Will Stuart, Kearnan Myall, Nathan Hughes, Craig Hampson, Billy Searle, Gaby Lovobalavu

Premiership Rugby 2018/19 - Points Table