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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Dazzling Daly can deliver for Wasps

England back in deadly tryscoring form

Wasps back Elliot Daly (right) has scored three tries in his last four Premiership outings
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Premiership
BT Sport 1, 7.45pm Friday

Harlequins versus Wasps is no longer a geographical derby but their encounters are still played out with plenty of passion and this Premiership clash at the Stoop should be no different.

Seventh-placed Quins are still in the battle for a berth in next season’s European Champions Cup and emotions will be running high in the home camp with ace fly-half Nick Evans and replacement scrum-half Karl Dickson set to make their final appearances in west London.

Director of rugby John Kingston has named a full-strength side including six internationals in the backline and a pack containing Lions props Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler, former Wallaby James Horwill and Chris Robshaw.

Leaders Wasps are safely in the playoffs but their boss Dai Young clearly does not want to wait until next weekend’s league outing at home to third-placed Saracens to secure a home semi-final.

Backline kingpins Willie Le Roux, Kurtley Beale, Christian Wade and Elliot Daly all start and, without weakening the backrow, blockbusting number eight Nathan Hughes has been given a finishers’ role off the replacements bench.

Wasps, two-point handicap favourites, have the better current form with five league wins on the spin and one defeat since November, while Quins have lost two of their last three home league games to top-four sides Exeter and Leicester.

However, Quins have won the teams’ last three league contests at the Stoop so a bet on Daly to score a try appeals most.

Daly has dotted down in three of his last four Wasps outings and has scored three tries against Quins in as many seasons.

There is little more to play for but pride and fun in the three Pro12 televised games.

Leaders Leinster are guaranteed a home semi-final and opponents Glasgow (TG4, 7.35pm) need miracles to make the playoffs but are safely in next season’s European Champions Cup. Take Leinster outside centre Rory O’Loughlin to score an eighth try of the campaign at 3-1.

Cardiff have secured a Champions Cup playoff spot next month and visitors Zebre (BBC Wales, 7.05pm) will surely want to conserve energy if the game gets away from them for their final weekend battle at home to Treviso.

Edinburgh and Dragons (BBC Alba, 7.35pm) are purely going through the motions although the hosts will be keen to secure a first win at Myreside.

It is hard to argue with bookmakers’ expectations of a one-sided clash in Hamilton for Saturday's early televised Super Rugby clash (Sky Sports 3, 8.35am) between the Chiefs and Sunwolves. The hosting Chiefs are asked to give up 34 points.

Recommendations
E Daly to score a try in Harlequins v Wasps
1pt 11-4 Coral
R O’Loughlin to score a try in Leinster v Glasgow
1pt 3-1 Betfair, Paddy Power

Wasps boss Dai Young clearly does not want to wait until next weekend’s league outing at home to third-placed Saracens to secure a home semi-final
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