Preview: Bath v Sale Sharks

Date published: April 22 2016

Bath have made two changes to their starting line-up for the second of back-to-back Premiership fixtures against Sale Sharks this Saturday. 

Both changes are to the forward pack as Charlie Ewels and David Denton come into the side for Bath's penultimate home match of the season.

Ewels starts in the second row, where he partners Dave Attwood, and Denton is brought into the back row at blindside, where he starts alongside openside Guy Mercer and number eight Leroy Houston.

After a fine scrummaging performance last time out at the AJ Bell Stadium, Nathan Catt, Rob Webber and Henry Thomas all remain in the front row.

Scrum-half Chris Cook and fly-half George Ford are the half-back pairing, whilst Ollie Devoto and Jonathan Joseph continue in the midfield. Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni are on the wings, and Rhys Priestland starts at full-back for the second time this season. 

Meanwhile, there are three changes to the Sale side which secured the bonus point victory over Bath last weekend.

Johnny Leota, Ross Harrison and David Seymour come into the starting XV, to replace Sam Tuitupou, Eifion Lewis Roberts & Cameron Neild.

Eifion Lewis Roberts is set to make his 200th appearance for the Sharks if he comes off the bench. Danny Cipriani will make his 100th appearance for the club.

Steve Diamond said: "The Rec is a difficult place to go, and they are under a bit of pressure so we know that we expecting an improved performance from them.

"They've got a squad that is full of quality and will be playing to get some kudos back. They'll be a big crowd at The Rec and they'll have pride to play for which is important to a side like Bath. It will be harder than last week's fixture for obvious reasons. If we can do a job in the last three games, and achieve what we think we can achieve then we will get into the Champions Cup."

Form: Sale beat Bath 29-17 at AJ Bell Stadium last weekend and have been victorious at the Rec in two of their last four visits. Sharks have also won their last three matches in the competition since their 39-12 defeat at Wasps in Round 17. 

The teams:

Bath: 15 Rhys Priestland, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 David Denton, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 David Wilson, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Levi Douglas, 21 Will Homer, 22 Max Clark, 23 Jeff Williams

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Brady

Date: Saturday, April 23
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:15 BST (14:15 GMT)
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Paul Burton
TMO: Sean Davey