Aviva Premiership match preview: Sale Sharks v Bath
Last Updated: 22/03/13 7:08pm
Sale Sharks will be eager to return to winning ways in Friday evening's Aviva Premiership game against Bath.
The relegation-threatened club have lost their last two league games to Harlequins and Leicester.
In contrast Bath have lost only one of their last four Premiership games (Northampton away by a 25-23 scoreline), though have not won on the road since the opening round of the campaign, when they defeated Worcester.
The Sharks have made a number of alterations to the line-up that started the 32-14 defeat to Harlequins in the LV= Cup final last time out, including dropping Danny Cipriani to the bench.
Nick Macleod takes over in the number 10 jersey, meaning a recall for Cameron Shepherd at full-back, with Dwayne Peel coming in at scrum-half.
Sammy Tiutupou and Mark Cueto are named in the starting XV while James Gaskell switches to lock having begun the game against Quins in the back row.
The visitors have made four changes to the side that faced Harlequins two weeks ago, with all their alterations coming in the pack.
Test props Paul James and David Wilson return to the front row following the culmination of the Six Nations, where they are joined by another international in hooker Rob Webber who comes back into the starting line-up.
Club captain Stuart Hooper also returns, with Dominic Day moving to the bench. Hooper partners Dave Attwood, who it was announced this week had extended his contract with the club, in the second row.
The abrasive pairing of Francois Louw and Carl Fearns continue on the flanks, with Ben Skirving again taking his place at the base of the scrum.
Peter Stringer, whose loan deal with Bath will now run until the end of the season, and Tom Heathcote continue to build their half-back partnership, with the backline unchanged.
Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Kearnan Myall, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Richie Vernon.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Michael Classens, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 18
London Irish and Sale Sharks both took a major step towards Aviva Premiership survival after sharing a 33-33 draw.
Gloucester have made five changes to their side for Friday's clash with defending champions Harlequins.
We look back at some of the highlights from the weekend's action in Premiership.
- McCall salutes England stars
- Sarries charge over Quins
- Narrow loss frustrates Young
- Tigers hunt down Chiefs
- Jones rouses beaten Welsh
- Irish pack delights Smith
- Wasps hurt by Saints
- Irish ease relegation fears
- Burns too hot for Welsh
- Diamond praises tough Sharks
- Sale boost survival hopes
- Wasps v Northampton: Teams
- London Irish v Worcester:Teams
- Gloucester v L Welsh: Teams
- Exeter v Leicester: Teams
- Saracens v Harlequins: Teams