Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Sale

29th November 2007 11:49

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Magnus Lund

Lund: Back in blue

Sale Sharks welcome back Magnus Lund for Friday's crucial EDF Energy Cup game against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

The England flank has missed four games since coming off injured in the game at Cardiff in the same competition.

Elsewhere, England star Mark Cueto will play at full-back, and newcomer Luke McAlister continues at outside centre alongside new partner Rudi Keil.

Meanwhile, England star Martin Corry returns for the reigning champions and will lead a side boasting 11 senior internationals.

Corry is joined in the back row by Lewis Moody and Jordan Crane, with Ben Kay and Louis Deacon reunited at lock, and Benjamin Kayser flanked by Marcos Ayerza and Julian White in the front row.

Frank Murphy and Andy Goode continue at half-back, with Dan Hipkiss and Ollie Smith at centre. Geordan Murphy, Johne Murphy and Tom Varndell complete the backline.

George Chuter is named among the replacements after his return to action in last week's win over Leeds Carnegie.

"We are expecting a hard game," said Leicester coach Marcelo Loffreda.

"I know many of the Sale players and I know they will come here to win.

We have to work hard, maintain our momentum and we have to improve with each game.

"This game is a very good challenge for the team."

Here comes the maths: A Leicester Tigers victory will see them reach the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Cup for a third successive season. A Sale win would be enough for the Sharks provided Cardiff Blues do not also win. Should Bath beat the Blues with a bonus point then Sale would also need a bonus point to progress. The Blues will reach the last four provided they win and Leicester get no points.

"This is a big game at Leicester - like a quarter-final," said Sharks boss Philippe Saint-Andre.

"We face a huge challenge in matching the Tigers' physicality, but we've won four games on the trot and are confident."

Form: Leicester's only loss in their last four matches was at Leinster in the European Cup on 10 November. The Tigers have won all four previous EDF Energy Cup matches at Welford Road, and will make it to the last four with another victory. Sale Sharks have won their last four games since losing 15-32 at Cardiff in the 1st round of this season's EDF Energy Cup. Leicester have won the last three encounters between the two clubs since Sale won the Premiership final at Twickenham on 27 May 2006. The Sharks' last win at Welford Road was 43-28 in the 6th round of the RFU Knockout Cup in November 2003.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Dan Hipkiss, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Martin Corry (c), 5 Ben Kay, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Julian White, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacement: 16 George Chuter, 17 Alex Moreno, 18 James Hamilton, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Sam Vesty, 22 Ayoola Erinle.

Sale Sharks: 15 Mark Cueto, 14 Julien Laharrague, 13 Luke McAlister, 12 Rudi Keil, 11 Rory Lamont, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Sililo Martens, 8 Nathan Bonner Evans,7 Magnus Lund, 6 Jason White (c), 5 Christian Day, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Lionel Faure.

Replacements: 16 Sébastien Bruno, 17 Stuart Turner, 18 Dean Schofield, 19 Sean Cox, 20 James Jones, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Chris Mayor.

Date: Friday, 30 November

Kick-off: 19:40 GMT

Venue: Welford Road

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)

Touch judges: Robin Goodliffe (England), Martin Buck (England)

Coach: Clive Leeke (England)

Television match official: Brian Abrahams (England)

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PosTeamPPts
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5Leicester Tigers821