Preview: Leicester v Sale

Date published: February 5 2016

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Ed Slater and Leonardo Ghiraldini return to the Leicester Tigers squad for Saturday's home game against Sale Sharks in the Premiership.

Club captain Slater and international hooker Ghiraldini are both included among the replacements on their recovery from injury. Slater returns for the first time since the New Year fixture at Saracens, while Ghiraldini is in line for only a second appearance since the Rugby World Cup after a hamstring problem.

Tom Youngs returns from a one-game ban to lead the team at hooker and Logovi'i Mulipola starts at loosehead.

Jordan Crane comes in at number eight, with Lachlan McCaffrey moving to openside in the only other change to the team that started at Gloucester last weekend.

Meanwhile, Sale boss Steve Diamond has named the same 23 that defeated London Irish but made three changes to his starting XV.

Ross Harrison, Vadim Cobilas and Cameron Neild come into the side, with Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Brian Mujati and David Seymour moving to the bench.

"Leicester is the place where you want to go and win, but history tells us that hasn't happened often, but we are a different Sale than we have been in the last few years," said Diamond.

"We need to go and play, we need to do what we've been doing, and pick a plan and implement it and hopefully beat them. We're looking for a good performance this weekend to carry on the form."

Form: Leicester Tigers are one of only three teams with a 100 percent home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season – the others being Saracens and Exeter Chiefs. Tigers’ only loss in the last six rounds in the tournament was on a trip to Saracens on 2nd January. Sale Sharks only defeat in their last seven matches in all tournaments was 17-33 at Exeter in Aviva Premiership Rugby on Boxing Day, however the Sharks have lost their last eight away games in the tournament since they overturned London Welsh 52-12 in Oxford on 15th February 2015. Tigers have won their last dozen contests in major competitions against Sale since Sharks 15-12 victory at Edgeley Park in Premiership Rugby in September 2009. Sharks have been triumphant at Welford Road just once since 2003: 14-11 in Premiership Rugby in February 2008.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Gonzalo Camacho, 23 Jack Roberts.

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Cameron Neild, 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 David Seymour, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott.

Date: Saturday, February 6
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Ross Campbell, Paul Burton
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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