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Worcester v Sale - Aviva Premiership match preview
Worcester Warriors have made wholesale changes to their line-up for the visit of Sale to Sixways tonight.
Following a 90-3 thumping of Rovigo in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Chris Pennell, Alex Grove, Josh Matavesi, Andy Goode and Paul Hodgson come into the back division.
There is a further positional switch with Errie Claassens moving to the wing to accommodate the return of Pennell.
In the pack Matt Mullan, who will captain the side, Aleki Lutui, John Andress and James Percival are handed starts.
Sale Sharks made eight changes to their original line-up following their loss to Montpellier.
Five of the changes come in the pack - with the forwards having been criticised on the back of a disappointing start to the season.
Andy Powell, Richie Vernon, Richie Gray and Tommy Taylor all come into the side, with England Under-20s prop Ross Harrison handed his first start.
In the backs Johnny Leota and Sam Tuitupou tighten up the midfield, while Nick Macleod is handed the No 15 jersey.
They were also forced into a late change when lock Richie Gray suffered a reaction to his ankle injury in a fitness test at the team hotel.
His place will be taken by Kearnan Myall with Mark Easter coming in to take Myall's place on the bench
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Errie Claassens, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Chris Jones, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.
Sale: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (capt), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Mark Easter, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Will Addison.
What they said...
Worcester boss Richard Hill
"We're looking forward to getting back into the Aviva Premiership after a spell in Europe. It has given other players the chance to stake their claim, but we are excited about the league and have some big games coming up.
"The games in Europe give you the chance to see which players will respond and put their hands up for selection.
"There are changes and it is only fair if players have worked hard that they are given a chance. We will have the most powerful squad out this season. The injury list has got gradually smaller and we only have a handful of players ruled out.
"That brings nice problems and I have real competition for places. It means one or two very good players will miss out, but I do expect them to come off the bench and make an impact."
Sale director of rugby Bryan Redpath
"It's a massive match for us, and for Worcester as well. They'll be looking for a big performance after two high scoring wins in the Amlin Challenge Cup and we had a great result against Cardiff, followed by a tough match at Montpellier.
"We've got make sure that we're focused on the game, not on the table. Our emphasis is to be very disciplined and be clear about our game plan. Away matches like this are tough, and Friday evening will be a massive challenge for us."
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|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Bath vs Exeter|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|16:30||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:30||Gloucester vs Wasps|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:45||Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|16:30||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:00||Leicester Tigers vs Bath|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Bath vs Wasps|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Exeter|
|Saturday 14th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|15:00||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|15:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle Falcons|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale Sharks 18 - 11 Exeter|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Newcastle Falcons 13 - 18 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 14 - 43 Northampton|
|London Irish 9 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Exeter 27 - 19 Saracens|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com