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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
|Click here for more betting|
|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