With star signing Kurtley Beale set to return from injury in early December, the talent available to director of rugby Dai Young will be truly impressive, and he will have some seriously difficult selection decisions to make.
We take a look at the options that the Welshman will be able to choose from, and ultimately we pick his best possible combination.
Few clubs have the option of selecting from two equally talented 9s, but Wasps have both Joe Simpson (an England international) and Dan Robson (an England Extended EPS member) to decide between.
Simpson is a constant menace in attack and the kind of running scrum half that Wasps used to have in Peter Richards, but he has worked hard to improve his passing and his game management. If not for ill-timed injuries in recent years he would undoubtedly have more than a solitary cap to his name.
In comparison, Robson was a promising scrum half at Gloucester that has taken his game to a new level at the Ricoh Arena. He is pushing Danny Care and Ben Youngs for a spot in England’s 23 and was unlucky to just miss out on selection for Eddie Jones’ reduced squad this time around.
Wasps had good competition for places between New Zealander Jimmy Gopperth and Scottish first five-eighth Ruaridh Jackson last year, but the re-introduction of Danny Cipriani to the squad has really made it a battle for the 10 spot.
Gopperth has been doing a fantastic job as a type of second five-eighth in tandem with Cipriani, but with new signing Kyle Eastmond in the equation as well, someone is going to lose out. With Kurtley Beale equally adept at inside centre, fly-half or fullback, the Wasps ‘A’ team is also going to be seriously well equipped with whoever doesn’t make the cut.
Wasps have four quality operators in Frank Halai, Josh Bassett, Alapati Leiua and Christian Wade – even though they have lost Charles Piutau to Ulster.
Given the attacking firepower of All Black Halai and England cap and Lions representative Wade, those two are Wasps’ first choice wingers.
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With the addition of Beale, Wasps can choose from Gopperth, Eastmond or the Australian at 12.
At outside centre they have 43-cap Scotland player Nick De Luca, Irishman Brendan Macken, the younger Armitage brother, Guy, and of course Elliot Daly.
It looks like a straight shoot-out for selection between England Saxon Rob Miller and South Africa’s fantastically talented Willie le Roux.
Although Miller is a reliable pair of hands at fullback, Le Roux is one of the Springboks’ best performers in recent times.
Pundit Arena’s 1st Choice Wasps Back Division:
9) Dan Robson
10) Danny Cipriani
11) Frank Halai
12) Kurtley Beale
13) Elliot Daly
14) Christian Wade
15) Willie le Roux
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
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