Planet Rugby

Preview: Sale v Leicester

24th February 2011 12:57

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Tom Croft 2011

Croft: Back in action

England duo Tom Croft and Julian White return for Leicester as the Tigers head to Edgeley Park to take on Sale on Friday.

Croft made an appearance off the replacements bench against Wasps last weekend having spent three months on the sidelines with a fractured shoulder and now takes the next step in his recovery.

White will be making his first start since November having been troubled by injury and the presence of Martin Castrogiovanni.

Despite the absence of eleven players either through injury or international duty, Richard Cockerill's men continue to top the Aviva Premiership table and Cockerill has called for more of the same against Sale.

"We've been going well and, although some of the teams around us have games in hand, we're just focusing on what we are doing," said Cockerill.

"There are seven games to go and we're just trying to get as many points as we can. Sale is always a tough place to go but we've won our last three away games and we should go with some confidence.

"It's all about getting results at this stage of the season. We're in a good place at the moment but that can change very quickly."

Entering the game on the back of a 21-9 defeat to Harlequins last weekend, Sale boss Peter Anglesea knows that only a top performance for all 80 minutes will be enough to claim victory.

"We know that we will have to show them total respect throughout the game and match their physicality," he said.

We also know that we need to be focused from the first whistle to the last. Last week we leaked two early tries and it was an uphill struggle from then on."

Form: The last five meetings between the two clubs in all competitions have all gone the way of the home side on the day. Sale Sharks have won just one of their last eight Aviva Premiership Rugby contests: 28-22 at home to Saracens on 2 January. The Sharks have lost their last two games at Edgeley Park in all competitions. Leicester Tigers lead the Premiership table and have put together a sequence of eight successive victories in the competition since their 12-19 reversal to Gloucester at Kingsholm on 30 October - this represents Tigers best Premiership run since season 2001/02. Leicester have won only once in seven previous visits to Edgeley Park: 26-25 on 6 April 2007.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Tom Croft, 6 Craig Newby (c), 5 George Skivington, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza. Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Peter Bucknall, 19 Calum Green, 20 Ben Woods, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Dan Hipkiss, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Kyle Tonetti, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Carl Fearns,

6 James Gaskell (c), 5 Wame Lewaravu, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ben Roberts, 1 Lee Imiolek. Replacements: 16 Aston Croall, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jack Forster, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Neil McMillan, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Andy Tuilagi, 23 Fergus Mulchrone.

Date: Friday, February 25
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Edgeley Park
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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