Sale Sharks v London Irish Premiership Preview

Sale Sharks host Leicester Tigers at the AJ Bell stadium

London Irish Head Coach Tom Coventry has made 11 changes to the side that beat Agen and secured a Challenge Cup quarter final for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership fixture against Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Topsy Ojo, Shane Geraghty, Conor Gilsenan and Luke Narraway are the only starters from last weekend’s 31-17 victory in France.

Tom Court, David Paice and Halani Aulika all start together in the front row, with Matt Symons and Will Lloyd combining once again in the second row. Ofisa Treviranus, Conor Gilsenan and Luke Narraway are named as the back row trio.

Brendan McKibbin returns to the side at scrum half with Shane Geraghty starting at fly half. Johnny Williams and Ciaran Hearn form the centre partnership and Topsy Ojo, Aseli Tikoirotuma and Sean Maitland make up the back three.

London Irish Head Coach, Tom Coventry said: “We were delighted with the result last weekend and it is important that we build on that performance with another good display against Sale. The Sharks are a formidable side at home so we know we will have to be at our best to get the result.”

The Exiles have also revealed that former All Black Ben Franks has ruptured his bicep tendon and after discussions with the appropriate specialists the decision has been made to surgically repair the bicep tendon. The recovery period is 12 weeks.

Ben Franks ruled out for 12 weeks. 

Sale Sharks only defeat in their last six matches in all tournament was 17-33 at Exeter in Aviva Premiership Rugby on Boxing Day. Sharks have lost just one game at AJ Bell Stadium in the last 12 months: 23-25 to Harlequins in Premiership Rugby on 25th April.

London Irish have won two of their last three fixtures in Aviva Premiership Rugby whilst their 31-17 victory in Agen on Saturday evening ended a ten game losing streak on the road in all competitions.

The last four fixtures between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day whilst the Exiles most recent victory on “Sale’s soil” came when Sharks took a home game to Bolton’s’ Reebok Stadium in April 2011.

Sale Sharks have named England training squad member Josh Beaumont to start the match with Sam Tuitupou, David Seymour & TJ Ioane all returning to the starting XV.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Steve Diamond said: “London Irish are a side going through a bit of transition, with new coaches, but they seem to have got their act together with a couple of good wins against Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints and they’ve won games in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, so they’ll be coming confident so we’ve got to carry on the way we’ve been playing.”

Match : Sale Sharks v London Irish
Date : Saturday 30 January
Venue : AJ Bell Stadium
Kick Off : 2.30pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Greg Garner (89th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee & Gareth Copsey.
TMO: Keith Lewis.


Sale Sharks

15. Mike Haley, 14. Will Addison, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Nev Edwards, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Peter Stringer, 1. Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Brian Mujati, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Andrei Ostrikov, 6. TJ Ioane, 7. David Seymour (capt.), 8. Josh Beaumont

Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Vadim Cobilas, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. Chris Cusiter, 22. Joe Ford, 23. Tom Arscott.

London Irish

15. Sean Maitland; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Ciaran Hearn; 12. Johnny Williams; 11. Aseli Tikoirotuma; 10. Shane Geraghty; 9. Brendan McKibbin; 1. Tom Court; 2. David Paice; 3. Halani Aulika; 4. Matt Symons (Captain); 5. Will Lloyd; 6. Ofisa Treviranus; 7. Conor Gilsenan; 8. Luke Narraway

Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis; 17. Johnny Harris; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Jebb Sinclair; 20. Rob McCusker; 21. Scott Steele; 22. Theo Brophy Clews; 23. Andrew Fenby

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