Preview: Leicester v Sale

Date published: February 27 2015

International trio Geoff Parling, Brad Thorn and Blaine Scully return to the Leicester Tigers line-up for Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture against Sale Sharks at Welford Road.
Parling has returned to fitness following a knee injury and has been released from the England squad this week, while second-rower Thorn and wing Scully also return as Tigers host the Round 16 fixture.
Laurence Pearce starts in the back row with Julian Salvi still sidelined by a calf injury, and Fijian duo Seremaia Bai and Vereniki Goneva team up in midfield.
Tommy Bell is called up among the replacements against his former club and there is also a place for Christian Loamanu in the matchday squad for the first time since the Barbarians fixture in November.
Meanwhile, there are three changes to the Sale Sharks side that beat Saracens last week, with Magnus Lund, Nick Macleod & Tom Arscott coming into the starting XV.

Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last four matches in all competitions since they tripped up against Ulster in Belfast in the European Champions Cup on 24 January. The Tigers have lost only one of tier last 14 home games in Aviva Premiership Rugby: 19-22 to London Irish on 27 September. Sale Sharks have won their last three games in Aviva Premiership Rugby since going down 16-41 against Wasps in Coventry on 4 January. That defeat was Sale’s only one on the road in their last four away trips in the competition. Leicester have won their last 11 fixtures with Sale in all tournaments since Sharks were victorious 15-12 at Edgeley Park in the opening game of the 2009/10 Premiership Rugby season. Sale’s most recent victory at Welford Road was 14-11 on 23 February 2008.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Vereneki Goneva, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Laurence Pearce, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Jack Whetton, 21 David Mele, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Christian Loamanu.

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Maxim Cobilas, 18 Ross Harrison, 19 Mark Easter, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Brady.

Date: Saturday, February 28
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Matt Carley
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Simon McConnell
TMO: Rowan Kitt