Sale Sharks v Harlequins Premiership Preview

Sale Sharks host Bath Rugby at the Salford City (AJ Bell) Stadium

Sale Sharks have named a team with six changes for their Aviva Premiership clash against Harlequins on Saturday at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Steve Diamond has rotated his squad to make six changes to the side who drew to Saracens last weekend.

Joe Ford starts his first Premiership game of the season, pairing up with Chris Cusiter at half-back. Diamond has opted to rotate all his front row with Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Neil Briggs & Brian Mujati starting this week.

Also, TJ Ioane returns to the back-row, after impressing off the bench last week to replace Cameron Neild.

Ahead of the game, Diamond said: “We’re playing very well. We just need to capitalise on those opportunities in games. We’ve got another big job on our hands this Saturday.

Quins are a good side, but they’ve got a few injuries and lacking a couple of internationals. We’ve got to win every game to get in the top four, and we’ve got to be on our very best to stand a chance of getting the victory.”

Sale Sharks have achieved a try bonus point in each of their last two games but have not won either contest – going down at Worcester and drawing at home to Saracens.

Sale are the only side who are unbeaten at home in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season – in fact they have not been defeated at AJ Bell Stadium in any competition since Harlequins last visited in April 2015.

Harlequins only victory in their last six fixtures in all tournaments was 25-19 at home to Leicester in round 13 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

The Londoners have slipped to four straight away defeats and have not lost five in a row on their travels since 2009/10.

Harlequins only loss to Sale in their last ten encounters in Aviva Premiership Rugby was 12-16 at Twickenham Stoop in November 2014. ‘

Quins have won on their last five visits to Sale in all tournaments.

Meanwhile Harlequins have made five changes to the starting team that played Wasps on Sunday at the Ricoh Arena.

Tim Visser returns from international duty and starts on the wing, with Matt Hopper named at outside centre.

Hopper replaces Winston Stanley who is expected to be out for the remainder of the season with an injury sustained last Sunday.

In the forwards, Dave Ward and Kyle Sinckler start in the front row, with Nick Easter returning to number 8.

On the bench Will Collier is named, with Joe Marchant looking to make his first appearance of the season.

In other injury news Tim Swiel will undergo an operation on Monday on an ankle injury sustained last weekend. Swiel will also be out for the remainder of the season.

Match : Sale Sharks v Harlequins
Date : Saturday 5 March
Venue : AJ Bell Stadium,
Kick Off : 2.30pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee : Ian Tempest (15th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Steve Lee.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

Sale Sharks: 15. Mike Haley, 14. Will Addison, 13. Sam James, 12. Johnny Leota, 11. Tom Arscott, 10. Joe Ford, 9. Chris Cusiter, 1. Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2. Neil Briggs, 3. Brian Mujati, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Andrei Ostirkov, 6. TJ Ioane, 7. David Seymour (capt.), 8. Mark Easter

Replacements: 16. Tommy Taylor, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Vadim Cobilas, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. Peter Stringer, 22. Danny Cipriani, 23. Mark Jennings.

Harlequins

15. Ross Chisholm, 14. Marland Yarde, 13. Matt Hopper, 12. Harry Sloan, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Ben Botica, 9. Tito Tebaldi, , 1. Mark Lambert, 2. Dave Ward, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. George Merrick, 5. James Horwill (C), 6. Mat Luamanu, 7. Luke Wallace, 8. Nick Easter

Replacements: 16. Rob Buchanan, 17. Owen Evans, 18. Will Collier, 19. Charlie Matthews, 20. James Chisholm, 21. Sam Egerton, 22. Joe Marchant, 23. Charlie Walker

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