Preview: Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors


Steve Diamond has named his Sale Sharks side to play Worcester Warriors in thei Premiership clash at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.

Vadim Cobilas will make his 100th appearance for Sale Sharks and the side also welcome back Johnny Leota and TJ Ioane after their World Cup commitments. 

Josh Beaumont returns to number eight with Jonathan Mills starting at lock. Andrei Ostrikov is on the bench.

Vadim joined the club back in March 2011, from VVA-Podmoskovye Monino and was a relative unknown before joining the club, and is now rated as one of the best tighthead props in Europe.

Speaking ahead of the game, Steve Diamond said: "Worcester are coached well by Dean Ryan and he has recruited well during the summer. Last Friday, we saw not only how they can attack but also how they defended against Northampton Saints.

"Last Saturday's result was a huge wake-up call and the lads have been working hard on the training ground to make sure we are ready for Worcester."

Meanwhile, Worcester's director of rugby Dean Ryan has named an unchanged side for this encounter.

GJ van Velze will lead Warriors as they look to build on their opening day Premiership success against Northampton Saints.

New signing Tevita Cavubati could be in line for his Warriors debut from the bench while prop Val Rapava Ruskin, fly-half Ryan Lamb and utility back Ben Howard are also among the replacements.

"It was really pleasing to get the win last week but now we've got an opportunity to go away from home and try and replicate that performance," said Ryan.

"One of the most positive things we talked about was that we can improve, but we've got to be as committed and physical again.

"With Danny Cipriani at ten they're a lot more inventive in attack and it puts more stress on individuals rather than a test of your system.

"We've got to take a very different attack and see if we can get it under control. It's a really different challenge and we have to test ourselves in a new environment.

"We haven't come into the league to try and target different fixtures. We're targeting every single weekend and everybody picked has to be capable of going right away.”

Form: Sale Sharks’ only win in their last five Premiership Rugby fixtures was 34-28 over Newcastle at AJ Bell Stadium on 9 May. The Sharks have been defeated only once in the competition at Salford in 2015: 23-25 by Harlequins in round 20 last season. Worcester Warriors repeated their feat of winning their first game after promotion in beating Northampton on Friday – something they had also achieved in 2011 and no other club has achieved since. Worcester’s only away defeat in any competition since September 2014 was 21-23 at Jersey in the Championship in March. The Sharks have won their last six matches against The Warriors in all competitions since Worcester’s 23-16 victory at Sixways in Premiership Rugby in October 2012. Worcester have not won on Sale’s soil since a trip to Edgeley Park in November 2008. 

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Will Addison, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2.Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Sam James

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Biggs, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Marco Mama, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Na'ama Leleimalefaga
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Ben Howard.

Date: Friday, October 23
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner, Paul Burton
TMO: Trevor Fisher