Preview: Sale Sharks v Bath

Date published: April 15 2016

Sale have named their side to take on Bath at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday, as they look to bounce back from their loss to Montpellier.

Sharks are still unbeaten at home in the Premiership this season and haven’t lost at their fortress in the league since April 2015, when they fell to Harlequins. Bath were victorious however on their last visit to Salford back in 2014. 

Steve Diamond has opted to make four changes to the side that lost to Montpellier. Sam Tuitupou returns to captain the Sharks at inside centre, with Will Addison, Eifion Lewis Roberts and Mark Easter also returning to the team.

Speaking ahead of the encounter, Diamond said: "Bath have got some exceptional players and if we don't play to the best of our abilities at home, we'll get beat. We know they are coming to try and get a win, and if we don't play as well as we could do, we won't win the game."

"The mentality is to get in that top six and get in the Champions Cup. We've got two games at home, and we've got to win those, and then away from home, give it our best shot. We've got to convert those four fixtures into points."

Meanwhile, George Ford will captain Bath in this Sunday's Premiership meeting.  

Scrum-half Chris Cook will make his 70th club appearance, partnered by Ford. Ollie Devoto and Jonathan Joseph are at 12 and 13 respectively.

Rhys Priestland wears the number 15 jersey for the first time this season, backed by the double threat of Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni on the wings.

Nathan Catt, Rob Webber and Henry Thomas start in the front row, with Dave Attwood and Dominic Day powering the scrum from the second-row. Matt Garvey is at six, and openside Guy Mercer and number eight Leroy Houston complete the back-row.

Form: Sale Sharks have won their last two fixtures in Premiership Rugby since tripping up at Wasps in Round 17. The Sharks solitary defeat at AJ Bell Stadium in Premiership Rugby since the turn of the New Year 2015 was 23-25 to Harlequins on April 25, 2015. Bath were defeated 10-30 at home to Saracens in round 19, but won their most recent away game 17-12 at Gloucester on March 26. Bath have won their last two encounters with Sale ut have not achieved an Premiership Rugby season's double over then since season 2010/11. Bath won on their most recent visit to AJ Bell Stadium in September 2014.

The teams:

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

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 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 David Wilson, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 David Denton, 21 Amanaki Mafi, 22 Will Homer, 23 Kyle Eastmond

Date: Sunday, April 17
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey, Ross Campbell
TMO: David Sainsbury