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 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
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Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
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Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
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ITM Cup
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Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
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Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
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Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
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ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00