Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Sale

01st March 2013 07:51

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Graham Kitchener Sale v Leicester Aviva Premiership

Presence: Graham Kitchener

Tom Croft will captain Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership fixture against Sale Sharks at Welford Road this Saturday.

Back-rower Croft has made a successful return after a neck injury in recent weeks and makes his 100th starting appearance for the club this weekend.

Mathew Tait and Niall Morris return to the backline for Saturday - Leicester's only home fixture during March - while Thomas Waldrom returns from the England squad to take the Tigers No8 shirt.

"We've had disappointing results in the last two weeks but in terms of performance we've done some good things," said Leicester boss Richard Cockerill.

"There are still six games remaining so there is a lot of rugby to be played yet and a lot of points still up for grabs. We keep a positive frame of mind and just keep battling away."

Tigers are without six players retained by England this weekend, while Anthony Allen, Miles Benjamin, Martin Castrogiovanni, Louis Deacon, Geordan Murphy and Boris Stankovich are unavailable due to injury.

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks travel to Welford Road tomorrow to play Leicester Tigers hoping to bounce back following the 21-30 defeat at home to Harlequins last Friday.

The Sharks have won their last two away games in all competitions but have not won three in a row on the road in the same season since October 2006.

Scrum-half Will Cliff signed a new deal at the club earlier in the week but is unavailable tomorrow due to an injury picked up in a freak training ground incident.

"Will's had his best season at the club and he's done really well for us. He took an unfortunate knock in training but he's a local lad who never lets the team down and the fact he signed a new deal is brilliant for us," said Sale boss Steve Diamond.

Form: Leicester have lost their last two Premiership matches at the hands of league-leaders Harlequins and more surprisingly at home to play-off rivals Saracens last time out, with the London side returning home with 32-27 win. That run has seen Leicester slip to third in the table, just four points clear of fifth-placed London Wasps with the possibility of failing to make the play-offs now an outside possibility for the nine-time Premiership champions. This weekend they welcome bottom-club Sale, who will arrive in good shape having won four of their last five in all competitions.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft (c), 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 Matt Cornwell, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Will Addison, 10 Nick Maclod, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Dan Braid, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Al Dickinson, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Jordan Davies.

Date: Saturday, March 2
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Gordon Goodliffe
Television match official: Mike Hamlin

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
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Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
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Leinster vs Munster18:30
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Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
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Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
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Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
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ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
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Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
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ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
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Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
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Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
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Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
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ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411