Preview: Sale v Wasps

Victory is vital for both Sale and Wasps as they attempt to climb out of the bottom-half of the Guinness Premiership table on Friday evening.

The Sharks, who currently lie in eighth position, are boosted by the return of Samoan World Cup star Elvis Seveali’i to their XV in place of wing Chris Mayor.

Elsewhere, Director of Rugby Philippe Saint-Andre welcomes back centre Rudi Keil from a bout of illness to his starting line-up.

And the Frenchman is expecting a tough contest at Edgeley Park, realising both side’s below-par efforts thus far will have to improve.

“Wasps like ourselves have not had the best start to the new season, and they will be desperate for a win tomorrow,” he said.

“Last week we lost the game in the first ten minutes at Bath and we must focus from the kick-off instead of having to chase the game.

“I am looking for a performance like the Bristol game tomorrow evening, where we defended as though our lives depended on it, and we looked dangerous when we attacked.”

Meanwhile, the Heineken Cup holders have made five changes to the side that lost narrowly against Leicester last week.

Youngster Danny Cipriani and Eoin Reddan replace Mark Van Gisbergen and Mark McMillan respectively, as the scrum-half immediately returns to club duty following Ireland’s World Cup exit.

Samoan Dan Leo is also named in the XV as injuries this week have forced Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan into several changes.

“I’m pleased to welcome both Dan Leo and Eoin Reddan back to the club following their return from World Cup duty, though injuries to Mark McMillan and Dominic Waldouck mean that we remain a very small squad,” explained McGeechan.

“Similarly, the key to success for us remains managing our game over the full 80 minutes.

“That’s the only reason we haven’t got a win in the last two weeks, but that one reason has made a significant difference to our league position.

“We have to be very focussed on our performance in order to get the result we need on Friday.”

Form: The Sharks return to the comfort of Edgeley Park, where they have won back-to-back matches in the Guinness Premiership; their best home run for a year. Their visitors are without a Premiership victory in their last four outings and this fixture has been won by the home side on the previous six occasions.

Sale: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Elvis Seveali’I, 13 Rudi Keil, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Nathan Bonner Evans, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 Stuart Turner, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Lionel Faure.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Ben Evans, 18 Chris Day, 19 David Tait, 20 Sililo Martens, 21 Chris Bell, 22 Chris Mayor.

Wasps: 15 Danny Cipriani, 14 David Doherty, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 John Hart (c), 7 James Haskell, 6 Dan Leo, 5 George Skivington, 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Michael Holford, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Hugo Ellis, 20 Simon Amor, 21 Rob Hoadley, 22 Mark Van Gisbergen.

Date: Friday, 4 October 2007
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Venue: Edgeley Park
Referee: Rob Debney
Touch judges: Martin Buck, Don Helme
Assessor: Brian Campsall
Television match official: Andrew Turner

365 Digital

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