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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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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com