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Preview: Harlequins v Sale

14th September 2012 10:38

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SKY_MOBILE Danny Care - Harlequins

Back at nine: Danny Care

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea has made three changes to his starting line-up to face Sale Sharks in Round Three of the Aviva Premiership.

With just one change to the backline, Danny Care returns to the starting XV with Karl Dickson named among the replacements.

There are two changes to the pack that beat London Welsh last week as Charlie Matthews joins George Robson in the second row. Nick Easter returns to start at number eight as Tom Guest moves to the blindside flanker position.

Among the replacements, Peter Browne and Rory Clegg will look to make their first appearance of the season, with Maurie Fa'asavalu covering the back-row.

Meanwhile, the Sharks show three changes from last Saturday's loss to Saracens.

Tom Brady comes in for his first game of the season - replacing the injured Will Addison - whilst Mark Easter and Mark Jennings are named on the bench. Jennings has yet to make his senior debut.

"No-one underestimates Harlequins after their first game this season against London Wasps, when you look at the belief they had to be so many points down and come back to win," said Sharks Director of Rugby, Bryan Redpath.

"After winning the Aviva Premiership last season, they merit every credit.

"It's a tough challenge for us on Saturday. After our performance against Saracens, we must build again, showing confidence in our attacking play as much as we have in our defence. We look forward to the game."

Form: Harlequins once more find themselves atop of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table - in fact already at round two the top four are in exactly the same positions as where they finished up last season. Quins have achieved a pair of bonus point wins against Wasps and London Welsh. Sale Sharks have lost their last three matches, whilst their only away win in the competition since last December came at Gloucester on 21 April. The Sharks only win over Quins in any competition since New Year's Day 2010 was 21-17 at Edgeley Park on 8 May 2010, whilst Sale have not been victorious at the Twickenham Stoop in the Premiership since May 2008.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Peter Browne, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Matt Hopper.

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 James Gaskell,5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Mark Jennings.

Date: Saturday, September 15
Venue: The Stoop
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts
Assistant referees: Tim Wigglesworth, Robin Goodliffe

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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954