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Preview: Sale v Northampton

18th November 2010 12:05

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Saints: Travel to Edgeley Park

Northampton travel to Edgeley Park on Friday to play an in-form Sale outfit on the back of an unbeaten start to their LV= Cup defence.

Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder says that his Saints players are looking forward to returning to Aviva Premiership Rugby this weekend.

And as his team looks to continue the form that has taken them to the top end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, Mallinder believes that the Anglo-Welsh competition has put the squad in good spirits ahead of the next few games.

"The LV= Cup is a good competition for us," Mallinder said.

"It gives the coaches an opportunity to try some new things and allows players time to show what they can do in the first team.

"We had two positive results against Saracens and the Dragons, and now we're looking to take that momentum back into Aviva Premiership Rugby.

"Edgeley Park is a tough place to play and Sale have been going well this season, especially at home. The Sharks have showed how much strength in depth they've got by putting together some good wins in all competitions recently and Mike Brewer has them playing an effective style of rugby.

"However we've been playing well recently too, and I have confidence that the team we've selected can go to Stockport and get a positive result."

In team news, Jamie Elliott makes his Aviva Premiership debut on the wing and Greig Tonks returns at full-back, while Roger Wilson and Bruce Reihana have recovered from their respective leg and finger injuries to take their places on the replacements bench.

Form: Sale Sharks' only defeat in their last six matches in all competitions was 26-39 at London Irish in the Aviva Premiership on October 31. The Sharks have won four of their last five games at Edgeley Park. Northampton Saints' only loss in any competition this season was 17-24 at Saracens in Round Four of the Aviva Premiership. Sale have beaten Northampton just once in their last six encounters in all competitions: 24-18 at Edgeley Park in the Premiership on 25 April 2009.

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Ben Cohen, 13 Iain Thornley, 12 Anitelea Tuilagi, 11 Chris Bell, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Asaeli Boko, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Kristian Ormsby, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Nic Rouse, 3 Karena Wihongi, 2 Neil Briggs (c), 1 Aston Croall.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Lee Imiolek , 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Neil McMillan, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Mathew Tait, 23 Matty James.

Northampton: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Paul Diggin, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Ryan Powell, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Easter, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Stuart Commins, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Bruce Reihana

Date: Friday, 19 November
Venue: Edgeley Park
Kick off: 19:45 GMT

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