London Irish v Sale Sharks Preview

London Irish have won five of their last six encounters with the Sharks, whilst Sale have not won at Madejski Stadium since October 2006.

London Irish have won just one of their last nine games in all competitions: 29-14 at home to Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership on 28 February.

Sale Sharks’ eight game losing run in all competitions came to an end with their 19-8 victory over London Wasps at Edgeley Park on Friday.

Sale’s only away victory in the Guinness Premiership since January 2009 remains as their 24-17 win at Leeds on 22 November.

In this match Bob Casey will make his 200th appearance for London Irish. The club captain and Ireland international, who joined the Exiles in July 2002, has shown exemplary professionalism and commitment in achieving this rare milestone in only his eighth season with the club.

Appropriately, Sunday’s fixture is the club’s annual St Patrick’s party match and an attendance of over 20,000 is expected at the Reading venue.

Casey captains a strong team that reflects the quality in the club’s squad.

“The players are refreshed after their return from our training camp where the change of scene and environment were uplifting,” said Toby Booth, London Irish Head Coach.

“We have a talented, quality squad and are looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting on with the job in hand on Sunday.

“Despite Sale’s current league position, they will pose a formidable challenge on Sunday. Both teams have everything to play for, we’re striving to maintain our top four challenge, while Sharks are trying to climb out of the relegation zone,” Booth continued

“We’re expecting the biggest crowd of the season to date at Madejski Stadium so there will be a great atmosphere for what will be a compelling contest.” he added.

Sale Sharks have shuffled their pack in a team that shows eleven changes, one positional, from the team that started in the win against London Wasps last week.

Missing the match through injury are Nick Macleod (hand), Marika Vakacegu (elbow) and Eifion Roberts (ankle), whilst Sharks’ Director of Rugby Kingsley Jones includes England Under-20 prop Lee Imiolek, yet to make his senior debut, on the bench.

Ahead of the Madejski Stadium encounter, Kingsley said, “We’re glad to welcome back our international players – Mark Cueto, Mathew Tait and Dwayne Peel – to the side, and are looking forward to building on the good performance and win over London Wasps.

“Irish are always a tough, physical side who will also be welcoming back some very good, experienced professionals. The game will present us with a very difficult challenge to which we are all looking forward, and we are desperate to gain some momentum for the final six games of the season.”


Match : London Irish v Sale Sharks
Date : 28th March 2010
Kick Off : 15:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium


London Irish

15. Peter Hewat; 14. John Rudd; 13. Elvis Seveali’i; 12. Seilala Mapusua; 11. Delon Armitage; 10. Ryan Lamb; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Dan Murphy; 2. James Buckland, 3. Faan Rautenbach; 4. Kieran Roche; 5. Bob Casey (captain); 6. George Stowers; 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. Chris Hala’Ufia.

Replacements: 16. Danie Coetzee; 17. James Tideswell; 18. Alex Corbisiero; 19. Matt Garvey; 20. Richard Thorpe; 21. Chris Malone; 22. Mike Catt; 23. Tom Homer.

Sale Sharks

Mark Cueto; Dafydd James, Mathew Tait, David Bishop, Ben Cohen; Charlie Hodgson (capt.), Dwayne Peel; Gavin Kerr, Marc Jones, Jack Forster, Brent Cockbain, Sean Cox, Carl Fearns, David Seymour, Sisaro Koyamaibole.

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