Preview: Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints

Date published: March 2 2017

Sale boss Steve Diamond has made three changes to the side which lost to Saracens last weekend for Friday's clash with Northampton.

Will Addison has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, with a foot injury, and is replaced in the centres by Johnny Leota. Josh Beaumont takes over the captaincy.

The two other changes are in the pack, with Jonathan Mills and Cameron Neild replacing George Nott and TJ Ioane respectively. 

Diamond said: "We need to win the game against the Saints at the weekend. If we do win the game we will be among the gang above us in the table. It will be difficult for us to get sixth or seventh in the table, but we've got to aim for that, that's the job in hand."

Meanwhile, there is just the one change to the Northampton starting line-up from that which ran out to face the Worcester Warriors, with James Craig replacing Christian Day in the second row.

Form: Sale Sharks' five game winning run in all competitions ended at Saracens on Saturday. The Sharks have won their last four home games since Bristol beat them by the closest of margins at AJ Bell Stadium on New Year’s Day. Northampton Saints home win over Worcester Warriors last weekend followed a pair of back-to-back defeats in Premiership Rugby. The Saints only two victories in their last seven away games in Premiership Rugby were both by a single point, at Worcester in November and at Gloucester in January. The last eight fixtures between the two clubs in Premiership Rugby have both gone the way of the home side on the day, whilst Northampton’s two victories at AJ Bell Stadium have been in Premiership Rugby in November 2012 and the quarter-final of the European Challenge Cup in April 2014.

The teams:

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Josh Charnley, 10 Sam James, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Tom Curry, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 George Nott, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Byron McGuigan

Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Nafi Tuitavake, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 Ben Foden (c), 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 James Craig, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Sam Dickinson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Juan Pablo Estelles, 23 James Wilson

Date: Friday, March 2
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 20:15 GMT
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales, Andrew Jackson
TMO: Keith Lewis