Preview: Sale v Northampton

Date published: January 9 2015

England loosehead Alex Corbisiero will make his first start since September when Northampton travel to Sale this weekend.

Corbisiero comes in as one of four changes to the Saints starting lineup from the team that battled past Newcastle last weekend.

Tom Wood is back to captain the team from the blindside, while Ben Nutley also comes in as the pack is shuffled.

Calum Clark moves up to the second row in place of Christian Day while Phil Dowson wears the number eight jersey in place of Samu Manoa who is away on compassionate leave.

The final change comes in the backs, where Jamie Elliott is on the right wing. coming in for Ken Pisi who drops to the bench.

Those changes see a number of younger players on the Saints bench, including Jordan Onojaife, who could make his Premiership debut if he comes on.

For their part, Sale have made nine changes from the team that was hammered at Wasps last time out, including a new half-back pairing.

Chris Cusiter and Danny Cipriani will be charged with running the show in the backs, while Premiership record try-scorer Mark Cueto and former All Black Sam Tuitupou also return.

There is even more turnover up front, with five changes in the pack, including starts for Eifion Lewis-Roberts and Marc Jones in the front row.

Jonathan Mills comes into the second row while Dan Braid comes in for David Seymour at blindside, taking the captaincy in the process.

The final change sees Josh Beaumont in at number eight in place of Mark Easter, who drops out of the matchday squad altogether.

TJ Ioane, who joined the Sharks during the week, comes straight into the squad and could make his debut off the bench.

Form: The Sharks have have slipped to back-to-back defeats against Leicester Tigers and Wasps, but have not lost three in succession in the same season since December 2012. Their record against Northampton leaves a lot to be desired – their only victory against Saints in the last seven clashes between the sides was a 19-6 win in the equivalent fixture last March. And the Saints have been victorious twice before at the AJ Bell Stadium, winning 27-16 in the Premiership in November 2012 and 28-14 in the quarter-final of last season’s European Challenge Cup. But Sale are no pushovers at home and have managed to score at least one try in all 28 Premiership matches at AJ Bell Stadium.

The teams:

For 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 Dan Braid (c), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Ross Harrison, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Tom Arscott

For Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Phil Dowson, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Calum Clark, 4 Sam Dickinson, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Corbisiero
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Jordan Onojaife, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 James Wilson, 23 Ken Pisi

Date: Saturday, January 10
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kickoff: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Matt Carley
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Paul Burton
TMO: Trevor Fisher