Planet Rugby

Preview: Sale v Exeter

07th February 2013 09:29

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Mark Cueto Sale Sharks AVP 2012

On the wing: Mark Cueto

Sale Sharks have recalled veteran wing Mark Cueto for their Aviva Premiership game against Exeter Chiefs at the Salford City Stadium.

Cueto is looking to become the Premiership's leading try scorer of all time. He is currently on 75 along with Steve Hanley. On the bench is Nick Macleod who has been out since the defeat at Wasps in December and Will Addison who was injured in the defeat to Northampton in November.

"As a management team we targeted the Scarlets and Wasps LV games as potential wins," said director of rugby Steve Diamond.

"We've achieved that, now we have got to do the same for the next two matches starting against Exeter Chiefs.

"We are rock bottom of the Premiership and we have got to move up the table and if we can get through the semi to a final and maybe finish 10th in the Premiership then suddenly the season won't look quite so bad. Exeter will be a big challenge for us. They are a very good side and well coached."

Meanwhile, Exeter are ready to unleash Fijian flyer Watisoni Votu into the Aviva Premiership.

The 27-year-old has impressed many in his opening two displays against Bath and Saints in the LV= Cup, but Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter wants to see even more from his new back in the first of a crucial four-game run of Premiership fixtures for the Devon club.

Having not tackled top flight action for a month, the Chiefs are looking to get their Premiership campaign firmly back on track against the division's basement club.

Baxter and assistant coach Ali Hepher know, however, that the Sharks are fighting for their lives and that they have made no secret of the fact they are targeting the visit of the Chiefs as the ideal opportunity to close the gap on their rivals at the foot of the table,

"These are really important games now," said the head coach.

"We want to do well in this year's Premiership. We've been in the Heineken Cup this year and really enjoyed it, we'd like to be there again and that's going to depend on how well we go in the Premiership now.

"Every game is going to be very important. I'm expecting us to play like we did against Northampton (in the LV= Cup), almost as if every game is the game that matters.

"It's exciting entering these four games and where you could potentially go. That's how I want to approach it. I don't want us to be fretting about where the season might go, I want us to be excited about how far we can fire ourselves."

Form: Sale Sharks have won just one of their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby contests: 33-27 at home to Worcester Warriors on 28 December. The Sharks have won two of their last three games at Salford City Stadium in all tournaments. Exeter Chiefs' 28-19 victory over Northampton in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday ended a six game winless sequence in all competitions. The Chiefs are without a win in their last three Premiership encounters but have not gone four games in a row without tasting success in the tournament since 2011/12. Exeter have won all five previous fixtures against Sale - the last two with 5-nil match point margins.

The teams:

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour (capt), 6 Dan Braid, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Tom Holmes, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Will Addison.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Watisoni Votu, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 Tom Hayes (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Phil Dollman.

Date: Friday, February 8
Kick-off: 19:45
Venue: Salford City Stadium
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Stuart Terheege
Television match official: Trevor Fisher
Timekeeper: Mike Hamlin
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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