Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish v Sale Sharks

29th March 2013 11:33

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London Irish fly half Ian Humphreys v Sale

Director: Ian Humphreys

London Irish are boosted by the return of Sailosi Tagicakibau to the starting line-up for the Premiership encounter with Sale Sharks.

Tagicakibau is the only change from the starting side that beat Worcester Warriors last weekend in front of nearly 20,000 supporters at Madejski Stadium.

Jebb Sinclair and Darren Allinson both come into the squad as replacements. Topsy Ojo is named as a replacement having played the most matches in the squad this season.

"I was very pleased with the efforts of our entire squad last weekend," said London Irish boss Brian Smith.

"The forward pack fronted up and set a platform for the team to keep the scoreboard moving. On Sunday it is important we keep that same level of performance. Sale are currently playing well so we know it will be another challenge, but one we are ready for."

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks travel to London Irish this weekend looking to win against the Exiles at the Madejski for the first time since October 2006.

Both sides won last weekend, Irish beat Worcester convincingly and Sale beat Bath thanks to a late Tom Brady try.

Irish have put a run of form together of late in the Aviva Premiership at home and their last defeat at 'The Mad Stad' was at home to Leicester Tigers just before Christmas.

Sharks won the game at Salford back in November by 21 points to 9 with Nick Macleod and Jonny Leota scoring tries. That win was Sharks first of the season in the Premiership.

Form: Sale recorded a fifth victory of the campaign, 14-13 at home to Bath, last time out but the Sharks face a big test at the Madejski Stadium, having only recorded one away victory in the competition this season; that was 26-25 over London Welsh at Oxford in Round 15. The Sharks won 21-9 when the two sides met at Salford City Stadium in Round 8; but they have not completed a league double over London Irish since season 2005/06 - their most recent win at Madejski Stadium was in October 2006.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jon Fisher, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Darren Allinson.

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Tom Brady.

Date: Sunday, 31 March
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 14:15
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Paul Burton and Andrew Watson
TMO: Graham Hughes

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