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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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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com