Preview: Sale v Exeter

Date published: December 19 2014

Daniel Braid captains Sale Sharks for the visit of Exeter Chiefs to Salford in the Premiership this weekend.

Meanwhile, having utilised the recent European games against La Rochelle to get game minutes into a large number of his squad, Baxter feels his players are in fine fettle ahead of what is yet another crucial block of games in the top division.

Team news for the Chiefs sees Baxter welcome back all of his frontline stars, including skipper Dean Mumm, number eight Thomas Waldrom and fly-half Gareth Steenson.

Waldrom, who was recently crowned the Premiership Player of the Month for November, currently tops the divisional try-scoring charts with seven to his name, whilst the deadly boot of Steenson is also top of the pile with 131 points – 27 of which came in his side’s last league win against Saracens.

Form: Sale Sharks have won their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby matches and climbed from 10th to 6th place in the league table in the process. The Sharks’ record at AJ Bell Stadium this season is won three, lost one, scoring 14 tries and conceding only 4 during the three victories. Exeter Chiefs are the second best side in Aviva Premiership Rugby on current form having amassed 22 league points from their last six matches, just two points behind table-topping Northampton’s haul. The Chiefs have won their last 8 matches in all competitions since tripping up in Bayonne in the first round of this season’s European Challenge Cup. Exeter’s only defeat in their last six Premiership Rugby away games came at Newcastle in round 5. Both fixtures between the two clubs last season were won by the away side on the day, whilst the tally between the two in Premiership rugby is led by Exeter with six wins to two.

The teams:

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Daniel Braid (c), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 James Flynn, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Moray Low, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Adam Hughes

Date: Friday, December 19
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Referee: Wayne Barnes (145th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe, Kelvin Stewart
TMO: Graham Hughes