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Preview: Newcastle v Sale

29th March 2012 12:07

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Richie Vernon

Starting: Richie Vernon

Sale have promoted Johnny Leota and Richie Vernon to their starting XV for the Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle at Kingston Park on Friday.

The same 23 are on duty as last week, with Leota and Vernon coming into the line-up. Luther Burrell and Mark Easter revert to the bench.

"It's a huge game for us. Falcons may be fighting for their lives but we have got to go there and fight for our reputations," said CEO Steve Diamond.

"It's a key game for us in terms of trying to get into the Heineken Cup and, first and foremost, we've got to get some credibility back into our defence.

"Friday will be a big challenge for us and maybe on the outside people will have Newcastle down as favourites, so we have to respond in kind."

Meanwhile, Newcastle have made two changes for the Aviva Premiership clash as Rob Vickers returns at hooker following suspension while Tom Bedford replaces Alex Tait on the wing, who is out for the rest of the season with a broken cheekbone.

Victory for the Falcons would make it five games unbeaten on home soil and close the gap on London Wasps to just four points at the foot of the Premiership tree.

"For me it is an exciting challenge fighting for survival especially for the fans who come to Kingston Park week in, week out and we will be doing everything to secure Premiership rugby for the North East," said Falcons director of rugby Gary Gold.

"Our destiny is not in our hands because if the teams above us win this weekend then obviously we will still be in the same situation.

"But it is time for the boys to express themselves and these challenges should be seen as exciting - we have said to the players that is going to be a real test of character and if this team can fight for their lives who knows what could happen," added Gold.

Sale make the trip across the Pennines on the back of last week's 45-9 home defeat to title-chasing Saracens, but Gold is under no illusions about the task in hand.

"This is obviously a very important game for the club and we need to pitch up at home as Sale will be a tough proposition," he said.

"We have had some good times at home since I arrived and we need to build on that momentum - morale is very good at the moment."

Form: Newcastle Falcons have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions: 19-10 at home to London Irish on 18 February. The Falcons are unbeaten in their last four games at Kingston Park, since Exeter won there, 16-10, on 7 January. Sale Sharks have slipped to back to back defeats to Exeter and Saracens. Sharks' only away victory in Aviva Premiership Rugby since round three was 16-13 at Bath on 3 December. Sale took the Premiership encounter with Newcastle on 26 December, but Newcastle exacted revenge in the Anglo-Welsh Cup meeting at Kingston Park on 29 January. The Sharks have never achieved a league double over the Falcons in the same season. David Rose becomes only the 8th referee to take charge of 100 Premiership matches.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Jeremy Manning, 14 Corne Uys, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Bedford, 10 Jimmy Gopperth (capt), 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 5 James Goode, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jonny Golding.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 James Hall, 19 James Hudson, 20 Adam Balding, 21 Mark Wilson, 22 Will Chudley, 23 Greg Goosen.

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou (capt), 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Richie Vernon, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Will Addison.

Date: Friday, March 30
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Don Helme Alan Hughes
Television match official: David Hudson

  • Sale Sharks Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale vs London Irish14:00
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale19:45
Sunday , November 30
Newcastle vs Sale15:15
Saturday , December 20
Sale vs Exeter14:00
Saturday , December 27
Sale vs Leicester14:00
Sunday , January 4
Wasps vs Sale14:00
Saturday , January 10
Sale vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Saturday , December 6
Sale vs Saracens13:00
Saturday , December 13
Saracens vs Sale17:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
  • Sale Sharks Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 18
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , October 11
Northampton 43 - 10 Sale SharksNorthampton vs Sale Sharks Report
Sunday , October 5
Sale 25 - 14 Wasps
Saturday , September 27
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale Sharks
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London Welsh
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks
Saturday , September 6
Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
8Leicester Tigers614
9London Irish612
10Sale Sharks611
11Newcastle Falcons69
12London Welsh61