Preview: Sale v Bath

Date published: September 5 2014

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Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani will make his 100th appearance in the Aviva Premiership when the Sharks host Bath in their opener on Saturday.

Sale star Danny Cipriani will make his 100th appearance in the Premiership when the Sharks play host to Bath in their season opener on Saturday.

He starts alongside Chris Cusiter, who joins lock Nathan Hines and full-back Luke McLean in making their debuts at the AJ Bell Stadium

Alberto di Marchi named on the bench is expected to take part in the game too alongside Magnus Lund who will, if he comes on play his first game for competitive game for Sale Sharks since 2008.

Meanwhile, Luke Arscott will make his full Aviva Premiership debut for Bath, with two other new signings, Nick Auterac and Henry Thomas, set to also make their debut if called upon off the bench.

Arscott starts at full-back, with a familiar look in the rest of the backs. The pacey pair of Semesa Rokoduguni and Anthony Watson are on the wings, with Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph renewing their midfield partnership. Fly-half George Ford is joined by Peter Stringer in orchestrating proceedings.

Up front, the all-international front-row of Paul James, Rob Webber and David Wilson combine at the coal face, as Stuart Hooper starts alongside Dominic Day in the engine room. A powerful back-row, comprised of Alafoti Fa'osiliva, Guy Mercer and Leroy Houston, completes the line-up.

Form: Bath's 19-13 loss at the AJ Bell Stadium last October heralded the start of an 11-game winning streak in all competitions propelling them towards the top of the Aviva Premiership. Equally, the home loss to the Sharks spelled the beginning of the end of their play-off hopes, losing out in dramatic fashion to Harlequins on the final day of the season. Sale won six of their Aviva Premiership home games last season but after losing their last three in Salford.

The teams:

Sale: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Will Addison, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (capt), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Alberto di Marchi, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott.

Bath: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Matt Banahan.

Date: Saturday, September 6
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kickoff: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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