Sale v Northampton - Aviva Premiership match preview
Last Updated: 01/12/12 2:34pm
Richie Gray: Returns to the Sale side after autumn campaign with Scotland
New Sale director of rugby John Mitchell has made three changes for his first match in charge against Northampton at Salford City Stadium on Friday.
The former New Zealand coach took over first-team affairs earlier in the week and will be looking to lead his new side to their second Aviva Premiership victory of the season when they host the Saints.
Cameron Shepherd comes back in at full-back, while centre Johnny Leota and lock Richie Gray are included in the starting XVafter returning from international duty for Samoa and Scotland respectively.
A position change is also made in the back row, with Andy Powell switching from No. 8 to flanker and Richie Vernon making the opposite move.
Northampton have been given a boost with the return of England internationals Ben Foden and Dylan Hartley to their line-up for the contest.
Foden will play for the first time since September after recovering from an ankle injury while skipper Hartley is back in the fold following a knee problem.
There is further good news for Northampton boss and former Sale player and coach Jim Mallinder as centre George Pisi also returns after returning from international duty with Samoa.
Lee Dickson returns to the bench but Northampton have lost lock Courtney Lawes after his England call-up, meaning Mark Sorenson come back into the second row.
Sale: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Richie Vernon 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Andy Powell, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Rob Miller.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13, George Pisi 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Rhys Oakley, 20, Ben Nutley 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.
What they said...
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder
"Sale have been getting some disappointing results this season and we're expecting them to be very motivated for tomorrow's game, especially with the return of John Mitchell to the club.
"They have talented players who will no doubt be looking to prove a point, and after having won their last three home matches in all competitions they have developed a winning habit in Salford over the past month.
"We know we will have a big job on our hands, but all our focus this week has been on getting a good result on Friday night. This season the Aviva Premiership is more competitive than ever and every point matters.
"We have had two wins in the past two weeks and now we want to build on that tomorrow."