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 , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
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Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Pumas vs Western Province19:00
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
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ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
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Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
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Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39