Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks preview

Sale Sharks’ only defeat in their last six matches in all competitions was 26-39 at London Irish in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 31 October.


The Sharks have won four of their last five games at Edgeley Park.

Northampton Saints’ only loss in any competition this season was 17-24 at Saracens in round 4 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Sale have beaten Northampton just once in their last six encounters in all competitions: 24-18 at Edgeley Park in the Premiership on 25 April 2009.

Northampton Saints Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the Northampton Saints players are looking forward to returning to Aviva Premiership Rugby this weekend.

The Saints travel to Edgeley Park on Friday night to play an in-form Sale Sharks outfit on the back of an unbeaten start to their LV= Cup defence, including a 28-3 win over Newport-Gwent Dragons last week.

And as his team looks to continue the form that has taken them to the top end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, Mallinder said that the Anglo-Welsh competition has put the squad in good spirits ahead of the next few games.

“The LV= Cup is a good competition for us,” Mallinder said today. “It gives the coaches an opportunity to try some new things and allows players time to show what they can do in the first team. Jamie Elliott in particular impressed against Saracens a fortnight ago and when he came off the bench against the Dragons, and deserves his chance in the Premiership.

“We had two positive results against Saracens and the Dragons, and now we’re looking to take that momentum back into Aviva Premiership Rugby.

“Edgeley Park is a tough place to play and Sale have been going well this season, especially at home. The Sharks have showed how much strength in depth they’ve got by putting together some good wins in all competitions recently and Mike Brewer has them playing an effective style of rugby.

“However we’ve been playing well recently too, and I have confidence that the team we’ve selected can go to Stockport and get a positive result.”

In team news, Jamie Elliott makes his Aviva Premiership Rugby debut on the wing and Greig Tonks returns at full back, while Roger Wilson and Bruce Reihana have recovered from their respective leg and finger injuries to take their places on the replacements bench.

Looking ahead to Friday’s game, Sale Sharks’ Head Coach Mike Brewer said, “Northampton’s strength is their efficiency. They make few mistakes. They put the opposition under pressure through playing direct, error-free rugby. If they get on the front foot, they play an offloading game and are finding space.

“They’re very good at it. The key for us is to compete at the set-piece and to win the collisions in the early parts of phase play.”

For Sale Sharks Iain Thornley, aged 19, makes his full Aviva Premiership Rugby debut and said, “I’ve had a chance in two LV= Cup games and I’m absolutely over the moon .

“I think I’ve been here touching four weeks now and , thanks to everyone here, they’ve progressed me to give me this starting slot as soon as possible.”

Match :Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks
Date : November 19th, 2010
Venue : Edgeley Park
Kick off: 7:45pm
Referee: J P Doyle(17th Premiership game)


Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Ben Cohen, 13 Iain Thornley , 12 Anitelea Tuilagi, 11 Chris Bell, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 1 Aston Croall, 2 Neil Briggs (capt), 3 Karena Wihongi, 4 Nic Rouse, 5 Sean Cox, 6 Kristian Ormsby, 7 Carl Fearns, 8 Asaeli Boko

Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Lee Imiolek , 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Neil McMillan, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Mathew Tait, 23 Matty James.

Northampton Saints : 15 Greig Tonks , 14 Jamie Elliott , 13 J

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