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Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks v London Irish preview
- Festive fancies
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
- Young left to rue late penalty
- McCall: Farrell 'fine'
- Booth: More to come from Bath
- Hunter hails 'ugly' win
- Sharks win it up front
- Bath too hot for Harlequins
- Sarries hunt down Tigers
- Gloucester see off Warriors
- Myler's boot takes down Wasps
- Exeter end losing run
South African World Cup-winning tighthead prop CJ van der Linde will make his London Irish debut in the Aviva Premiership clash at Sale Sharks on Friday night.
The Exiles also welcome back Ian Humphreys from injury and he will partner Tomas O'Leary at half-back.
Eamonn Sheridan and Fergus Mulchrone will form the centre partnership with Topsy Ojo, Andrew Fenby and James O'Connor in the back three.
Matt Parr, Jimmy Stevens and Van der Linde will start in the front row with Ian Gough and George Skivington in the second row. Blair Cowan, Jebb Sinclair and Chris Hala'ufia make up the back row.
Irish sit 11th out of 12 in the Premiership, and rugby director Brian Smith admitted clashes with fellow strugglers Gloucester and Worcester after Friday's contest have teed up a pivotal Christmas run.
He said: "We've got some artillery there that we've been holding back for the last two weeks, with good reason.
"These next three league games are massive for us, and I think we're a good enough rugby team to win all three.
"But we've definitely got to step up to the plate. On a Saturday afternoon when the sun's shining you can play the brand of rugby we love to play, and move the ball around.
"But if you go in with the intentions of doing that on a Friday night in Manchester, it simply won't suit the conditions."
For Sale, Danny Cipriani continues at fly-half after his impressive 28-point haul against Oyonnax in the Challenge Cup.
A new second-row pairing sees Jonathan Mills partner Michael Paterson in the engine room.
Prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts will make his 100th Premiership appearance if he joins Friday's fray from the bench.
Former London Welsh captain Mills has challenged eighth-placed Sale to start their Christmas league schedule with a win, especially with trips to Leicester and Newcastle in the festive offing.
"Friday is the start of three crucial Premiership games for us," Mills told the Manchester Evening News.
"And if we can win two out of those three games it will really set the season up for us."
Sale: Miller, Brady, Jennings, Tuitupou, Cueto, Cipriani, Peel; Harrison, Taylor, Cobilas, Mills, Paterson, Braid, Seymour, Gaskell
Replacements: Jones, Lewis-Roberts, Thomas, Kulemin, Ostrikov, Cliff, Ford, Mckenzie
London Irish: O'Connor, Ojo, Mulchrone, Sheridan, Fenby, Humphreys, O'Leary; Parr, Stevens, Van der Linde, Skivington, Gough, Sinclair, Cowan, Hala'ufia
Replacements: Mayhew, Yapp, Halavatau, Rouse, Treviranus, Lewington, Geraghty, Allinson
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|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|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Northampton|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Leicester|
|Sunday 5th October|
|14:00||Sale vs Wasps|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Exeter|
|Friday 10th October|
|19:45||Leicester vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 11th October|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Irish|
|15:15||Northampton vs Sale|
|Sunday 12th October|
|14:00||Wasps vs Bath|
|Saturday 15th November|
|14:00||Sale vs London Irish|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Northampton vs Exeter|
|15:00||Leicester vs Saracens|
|15:00||Bath vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 16th November|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Bath 45 - 0 Leicester|
|Harlequins 26 - 23 Wasps|
|London Irish 32 - 36 Saracens|
|Sale 46 - 8 London Welsh|
|Friday 19th September|
|Gloucester 22 - 25 Exeter|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Newcastle 18 - 20 London Irish|
|Wasps 20 - 16 Northampton|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Exeter 20 - 24 Leicester|
|Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks|
|Bath 53 - 26 London Welsh|
|Friday 12th September|
|Harlequins 0 - 39 Saracens|
|Sunday 7th September|
|London Welsh 0 - 52 Exeter|
|Saturday 6th September|
|London Irish 15 - 20 Harlequins|
|Leicester 36 - 17 Newcastle|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath|
|Saracens 34 - 28 Wasps|
|Friday 5th September|
|Northampton 53 - 6 Gloucester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com