Preview: Sale Sharks v Harlequins

Date published: April 24 2015

Sale host Harlequins in a must-win Premiership battle for the Sharks at AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.

Five points behind sixth-placed Wasps, Sale cannot afford to lose if they hope to stay in the hunt for a place in Europe's top tier next season.

The Sharks are unbeaten at home in Premiership Rugby in 2015; their most recent defeat in the North West coming against Leicester on 27th December.

Equally, Quins have not won on the road since they visited Castres in the European Rugby Champions Cup on January 24.

And after their 16-12 at victory at the Twickenham Stoop in round 8, the Sharks will be hoping for their first season's double over Quins since 2007/08.

But Quins won't be intimidated by that record after their 27-12 bonus-point victory at AJ Bell last season.

"We're in that position where we know we've got to win all of your games. They've got their England players back and it's going to be a very difficult game for us," said Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond.

There is just one change to the Harlequins team which beat Gloucester as George Lowe returns from injury to start at outside centre.

Form: Sale Sharks have won just one of their last four Aviva Premiership matches: 23-6 at home to Gloucester in Round 18. Harlequins last four games have all been won by the home side on the day whilst the Londoners have not won on the road since they visited Castres in the European Champions Cup on 24th January. Sale beat Harlequins 16-12 at Twickenham Stoop in round 8 and have not achieved a season’s double over ‘Quins since 2007/08. Harlequins have lost on their last four visits to Sale in all tournaments since a 21-17 victory in Premiership Rugby at Edgeley Park in September 2010

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 TJ Ioane 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Josh Beaumont, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 George Lowe, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Jack Clifford, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter, 3 Matt Shields, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler (c).
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Darryl Marfo, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ugo Monye

Date: Saturday, 25 April
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off:  14:00 BST (13:00 GMT)

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe & Roger Baileff
Trevor Fisher.