Preview: Sale Sharks v London Welsh

Date published: September 19 2014

London Welsh make five changes, including two positional, for Saturday’s fixture in the Aviva Premiership against Sale Sharks.

All of those changes come in the forwards. Koree Britton starts at hooker in place of Nathan Morris, while Dean Schofield and James Down come in for Peter Browne and Matt Corker in the second row.

Browne moves to blindside flanker with Lachlan McCaffrey switching from the number six jersey to number eight.

Welsh go into the game having got their season up and running with a four-try bonus point in their defeat to Bath, but for the second consecutive week the Exiles conceded seven tries and more than 50 points.

“We were pleased with the fact that we were able to pick up a point at Bath – we scored four good tries against a very good Bath side. But we were once again disappointed with our individual errors,” said head coach Justin Burnell.

“The focus has to be to maintain our attacking flair and minimise those errors. The emphasis this week, therefore, has been on keeping our standards high and continuing to work hard, with the purpose of being able to compete within the Aviva Premiership.”

London Welsh’s previous visit to the AJ Bell Stadium produced the Club’s only Premiership away win, 29-19 win thanks to tries from Jonathan Mills and Ed Jackson and the boot of Gordon Ross.

Meanwhile, Nathan Hines is missing for Sale after picking up an arm injury at Gloucester.

Michael Paterson moves to lock and Magnus Lund starts for the first time since his return to the club at blindside flanker.

Jonny Leota also starts at centre for the first time this season having recovered from a leg infection. Tongan International Viliami Fahiki is named amongst the replacements.

Form: Sale Sharks’ only victory in their last seven fixtures in all tournaments came at Exeter in the Aviva Rugby Premiership on 19th April. The Sharks have lost their last four games at AJ Bell Stadium in all competitions, their worst run since moving to their new home. London Welsh will want to avoid Bedford’s unwanted record of being the only side in Premiership history to concede over 50 points in three successive matches. The Exiles only victory in their last 14 Premiership encounters was at home to Worcester in May 2013. London Welsh’s only previous way Premiership victory came at the AJ Bell Stadium, defeating Sale 29-19 on 21st September 2012. The two clubs have met in four previous competitive fixtures with London Welsh victorious just once.

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Will Addison, 12 Jonny Leota, 11 Tom Arscott, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour, 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Viliami Fahiki, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Nic Reynolds, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Olly Barkley (c), 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Pete Browne, 5 James Down, 4 Dean Schofield, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Ricky Reeves
Replacements: 16 Nathan Morris, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Ollie Stedman, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Tristan Roberts, 23 Tom May

Date: Saturday, September 20
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium, Salford
Kickoff: 14.00 BST (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey, Peter Huckle
TMO: Sean Davey