Preview: Northampton v Sale

Date published: March 11 2016

Northampton Saints have shuffled their pack for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at Franklin's Gardens.

There are made four changes to the starting line-up from that which ran out against Saracens last Saturday. 

All are up front, with Ethan Waller, Paul Hill, James Craig and Christian Day all coming into the pack.

Meanwhile, Danny Cipriani is recalled to the Sale Sharks starting XV, along with Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor and Vadim Cobilas. 

Cameron Neild also starts, with Magnus Lund coming onto the bench. Tom Arscott is set to make his 100th Premiership appearance.

The Sharks haven't won at the Saints in ten years, but Sale boss Steve Diamond says his side are ready for the test.

"We've got to pick up a few wins away from home to get in the Top Four, but it's difficult to do that at Northampton. We've got to go there with that ambition, and play," he said.

"Northampton are still Top Four side, but they've struggled a bit with international call-ups. We've had a good period through it, and we've got to try and eek something out of the game if we have any ambition of finishing in the Top Four."

Form: Northampton Saints’ solitary defeat in the last five rounds of the Premiership came by a single point in 51 at Newcastle on 21 February. The Saints have lost just once at Franklin’s Gardens in the Premiership since November – 11-24 to Wasps in Round 10. Sale Sharks’ only defeat in any tournament so far in 2016 came when they visited Worcester in the Premiership on 20 February. The Sharks have won only once away from home in the tournament since Round 14 last season: 10-3 at Leicester on 6 February. The last six meetings between the two clubs in the Premiership have all gone the way of the home team on the day whilst Sale have not been victorious at Franklin’s Gardens since their visit in May 2006. 

The teams:

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Harry Mallinder.

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Will Addison, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 TJ Ioane 7 David Seymour, 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 Magnus Lund, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

Date: Saturday, March 12
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe, Roger Baileff
TMO: David Sainsbury