Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors preview
Last Updated: 01/12/13 11:15am
Sale Sharks entertain basement side Worcester Warriors at the AJ Bell Stadium as they look to close the gap on the teams directly above them in the Aviva Premiership.
Steve Diamond's eighth-placed team head into the contest having lost two successive league matches, but they will be hoping for a second win of the season against their opponents.
The Warriors are the only side without a league victory although they secured their first win of the season against Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup before an encouraging display against Leicester Tigers last weekend.
The sides have already met this season at Sixways in the Amlin Challenge Cup when Sharks ran out 29-15 winners but Warriors have been victorious only once on the road in the Premiership since April 2009.
Dwayne Peel and Danny Cipriani have been paired together at half-back for Sale, while James Gaskell, David Seymour and Dan Braid form the back-row.
Marc Jones gets the nod ahead of Tommy Taylor.
The Warriors' director of rugby Dean Ryan is set to hand James Stephenson his first appearance in the top-flight after the 23-year-old scored on his debut in the LV= Cup win over Cardiff Blues earlier this month.
Tighthead prop Rob O'Donnell has also earned a Premiership start and the former Sale man will line-up alongside Chris Brooker and Ofa Fainga'anuku in the front-row.
James Percival will start at lock next to Mike Williams, while the back-row sees the return of Argentina international Leonardo Senatore at number eight.
Jonny Arr retains his place at scrum-half alongside Ignacio Mieres, who starts at fly-half while South African Dean Hammond starts on the left wing, with Ravai Fatiaki partnering Alex Grove in midfield.
"The LV= Cup been a real shot in the arm for us," admitted Ryan. "I've been pleased with the attitude, enthusiasm and energy of our youngsters and it's created a nice vibe around the team.
"We've played Sale once this season and they beat us convincingly. We were driven badly and couldn't cope with it so it's a big test for us to see if we have we closed that gap."
Sale Sharks: Miller, Arscott, Addison, Tuitupou, Cueto, Cipriani, Peel; Lewis Roberts, Jones, Thomas, Mills, Paterson, Braid, Seymour, Gaskell
Replacements: Taylor, Harrison, Cobilas, Ostrikov, Easter, Cliff, Macleod, Jennings
Worcester Warriors: Pennell, Stephenson, Grove, Fatiaki, Hammond, Mieres, Arr; Fainga'anuku, Brooker, O'Donnell, Percival, Williams,Thomas, Betty, Senatore
Replacements: Shervington, Becasseau, Andress, Schofield, De Carpentier, Hodgson, Warwick, Matavesi
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round Eight
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young apologised to the home supporters following Bath's comprehensive win at Adams Park.
Bath extended their winning run to seven matches in all competitions with a convincing 28-5 victory against Wasps.
Jim Mallinder says the severity of a knee injury suffered by England full-back Ben Foden has yet to be determined.