Preview: Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers

Date published: March 25 2016

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Sale flanker David Seymour will captain the side in his 199th Premiership appearance, against Leicester at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts welcome back Will Addison, Tommy Taylor, Sammy Tuitupou, Vadim Cobilas, Bryn Evans and Eifion Lewis Roberts following last week's defeat at Wasps.

Centre Johnny Leota is unavailable for the game as he is serving a two-match ban following his red card at the Ricoh Arena.

"Tigers will be full-strength. They are a top four side, but we've beaten three of them this season, so we want to make it four this weekend. We want to keep that record going at home, and stay as close as we can to the group of teams above us," said boss Steve Diamond.

"We know that Tigers play differently than to Wasps, and we've got to be up for a fight up front, as we normally are, and take some pride in our defence."

Meanwhile, England Grand Slam trio Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi return to the Leicester Tigers team for the Round 18 match.

All three go straight into the starting line-up on their return to club duties after the Six Nations.

Cole joins Marcos Ayerza and Harry Thacker in the Tigers front-row, Youngs is paired with Freddie Burns at half-back and Tuilagi lines up alongside Owen Williams at centre.

Form: The Sharks have slipped to back-to-back defeats against Wasps and Northampton Saints in recent weeks and with Leicester in town this Easter, Deacon is targeting a win to resurrect Sale's season. Sale Sharks' only victory in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was 29-23 at home to Harlequins in March – a statistic that needs to change against Leicester Tigers. A positive note though for the Sharks is they have not lost in any competition at the AJ Bell Stadium since Harlequins were the visitors in Premiership Rugby on April 25. Leicester Tigers' only defeat in their last four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 36-24 to Wasps in Coventry in Round 16. However, the Tigers have won just once away from home in 2016: 19-18 at Gloucester at the end of January. Sale beat Leicester 10-3 at Welford Road in round 11 and has only once before achieved a season's Premiership double over Tigers in 2008. Leicester has won on their last five visits to Sale since a 15-12 reversal at Edgeley Park in September 2009.

The teams:

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

Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Mathew Tait, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Tom Croft, 6 Laurence Pearce, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Opeti Fonua, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Peter Betham, 23 Telusa Veainu

Date: Sunday, March 27
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 13:00 local (12:00 GMT)
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson, Kelvin Stewart
TMO: Stuart Terheege

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