Planet Rugby

Preview - Sale v London Irish

22nd February 2007 12:00

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Sale Sharks have named their side for Friday's Guinness Premiership game against London Irish at Edgeley Park.

Mark Cueto will captain the side from full back and play his first game back at Edgeley Park since the win over Llanelli Scarlets in December whilst Lee Thomas returns to the starting line up following his arm break at Newcastle on Boxing Day.

Andrew Sheridan will be on the bench and providing he passes a fitness test Elvis Seveali'I will also be among the replacements.

Head Coach Kingsley Jones is aware of the threats London Irish will pose, as well as admitting he has had to reshuffle his side due to international commitments and on-going injury problems.

"We have again had to reshuffle as we have lost Seabass with a leg injury, Jason and Magnus to England and David Tait and Rhys Jones are on U20 International duty also," he said.

London Irish are a good side who can beat anyone on their day. We will need be ready for them from the kick off and defence will be the key as they can score tries from anywhere on the field."

Meanwhile London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith keeps faith in the combination that secured an important home win over Bath last Saturday .

There are only two change to the starting line-up of last Saturday's team for the trip to Cheshire - Seilala Mapusua returns at outside centre having recovered from a foot injury. He will partner Riki Flutey, who deputises for Mike Catt after the latter's England call-up.

"This is a very important game for us," said Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby.

"Over the past two seasons we've collected every other scalp in the Premiership other than the Sharks and that is something we're keen to address!

"Sale were absolutely red-hot when he played them earlier this season at Madejski Stadium.

"That was a tough day at the office for us and we're expecting a similar test this time.

"The Sharks have a big squad of talented players who are well coached. While we have a lot of respect for them, we are travelling north with the objective of competing and winning."

Form: Sale Sharks have lost their last three matches against Ospreys (European Cup) and Gloucester and Wasps in the Guinness Premiership, whilst Edgeley Park has seen just 18 Premiership tries this season - the fewest of any ground. London Irish ended a four game losing streak in all competitions with their 15-7 victory over Bath on Saturday, but away from home the Exiles have won just once since November, 16-14 at Worcester on 22 December. Sale have taken the last four encounters they have had with London Irish, with the last Irish victory being 17-16 at Edgeley Park on 8 October 2004.

Sale: 15 Mark Cueto (c), 14 Chris Mayor, 13 Mark Taylor, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Lee Thomas, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Andrew Titterrell, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Chris Day, 3 Ben Evans, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Eifion Roberts.

Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Andrew Sheridan, 18 Stuart Turner/Barry Stewart, 19 Sean Cox, 19 Michael Hills, 20 Andy Vilk/Steve, 21 Hanley/Elvis Seveali'I, 22David Blair

London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Seilala Mapusua, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Phil Murphy, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey (c), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Tonga Lea'aetoa.

Replacements: 16 Neal Hatley, 17 Robbie Russell, 18 James Hudson, 19 Juan Leguizamon, 20 Olivier Magne, 21 Nils Mordt, 22 Barry Everitt.

Date: Friday 23rd February 2007

Time: 19.45 (GMT)

Venue: Edgeley Park

Referee: Rob Debney

Touch judges: Steve Savage, Alan Hughes

Assessor: Colin High

Television match official: David Hudson

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