Planet Rugby

Preview: Sale v Worcester

24th January 2014 10:02

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Mark Easter for Sale Sharks

Captain: Mark Easter

Sale Sharks have named Mark Easter as captain in a much-changed XV that will face Worcester Warriors in their LV= Cup home fixture on Saturday.

Easter leads the Sharks from blindside in a back-row that includes Andy Hughes and Viliami Fihaki. Tom Holmes and Kirill Kulemin are the locks.

Will Cliff and Joe Ford are the half-backs as fly-half Danny Cipriani must make do with a place on the bench alongside regular wing Tom Brady.

Steve Diamond also gives starts to full-back Mike Haley and hooker Dan Baines for the fixture.

Meanwhile, Academy youngster Elliott Davies is set for his first-team debut for Worcester.

The fly-half impressed for Cavaliers in the early part of the season and has since enjoyed a loan spell at National League One leaders Doncaster Knights.

He has been rewarded with a starting berth by Director of Rugby Dean Ryan, who makes nine changes to the side that started in the win over Oyonnax last weekend.

Loughborough University student Christian Scotland-Williamson, who scored in the last round of the competition against Leicester Tigers, also gets his first start for the club in the second-row.

New Zealander Cam Goodhue will start at flanker alongside number eight Semisi Taulava, who starts his first match since October's clash with Newcastle Falcons. Rob O'Donnell also returns to the forward pack in the front-row.

Alex Grove will play at centre, while wing Dean Hammond is back in the starting 15 after a shoulder injury.

Max Stelling slots in at full-back, while Paul Hodgson makes his first start at scrum-half since November.

On the bench, Ryan names a blend of youth and experience with academy youngsters Nick Seymour, Jack Cosgrove, Andrew Boyce and George de Cothi ready to take their opportunities.

John Andress, Richard de Carpentier, Josh Matavesi and James Stephenson are also named amongst the replacements.

Ryan said: "We know the challenge that is coming and we know what we are trying to do over the next month.

"The LV= Cup is there to give opportunities and we have been consistent with that all the way through this season.

"It is about creating opportunities for some of the youngsters to create a reputation for themselves.

"Growing youngsters is an unknown. Sometimes they can surprise you with how well they respond. You have to give them opportunity."

The teams:

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Charlie Ingall, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Viliami Fihaki, 7 Andy Hughes, 6 Mark Easter (capt), 5 Tom Holmes, 4 Kirill Kulemin, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Dan Baines, 1 Aston Croall.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 James Gaskell, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Tom Brady.

Worcester: 15 Max Stelling, 14 Josh Watkins, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Elliott Davies, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Cam Goodhue, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 George Porter.
Replacements: 16 Nick Seymour, 17 Jack Cosgrove, 18 John Andress, 19 Richard de Carpentier, 20 Andrew Boyce, 21 George de Cothi, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 James Stephenson.

Referee: Steve Lee (England)
Assistant referees: Chris Sharp (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
Timekeeper: Tony Turner (England)
Assessor: Nigel Yates (England)

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