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    Penalty goals: Cipriani,
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  • Penalty goals: Hodgson (5),
  • Aviva Premiership
  • 14th Feb 2014
  • KO 19:45
  • Ground: The AJ Bell Stadium
  • Att: 6,109

Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks entertain Saracens in Friday night clash

Last updated: 14th February 2014  

Charlie Hodgson Saracens 2013 edited 1

Charlie Hodgson: The Sarries man will start against his former club

Eifion Lewis Roberts

Eifion Lewis-Roberts: The Prop replaces Ross Harrison for Sale

It is always important to respond, and we always say that it's a sign of a good team when they respond from defeat.

Saracens' David Strettle
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Saracens travel to Sale Sharks aiming to climb back to the top of the Aviva Premiership after being knocked off top spot by Northampton last weekend.

The hosts will be looking to follow up their 24-19 victory over Gloucester and inflict successive defeats on Saracens at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The long-time league leaders head into the clash following a surprise home defeat at the hands of London Irish last time out.

Saints took advantage of that slip-up by edging past Exeter to claim pole position, although it will be a short-lived stay if Saracens topple Sale on Friday night.

"We are looking to respond," Saracens' England international wing David Strettle said.

"It is always important to respond, and we always say that it's a sign of a good team when they respond from defeat."

Saracens are buoyed by the return of several England players from Six Nations duty.

The list includes full-back Alex Goode, centre Brad Barritt and prop Mako Vunipola, while half-backs Charlie Hodgson and Richard Wigglesworth will start against their former club.

Dream start

Meanwhile, Sale boss Steve Diamond feels his side are capable of beating their opponents on home soil; a victory would take them into a play-off position.

They have won three of their last four Premiership fixtures and are unbeaten for six games in all competitions at home - a run that stretches back to November.

"As a squad, we are in a different position now, compared to last year, and the team has got a real belief about it," Diamond told the club's official website.

"We didn't play as well as we could on Friday (against Gloucester), but we got the result, and the icing on the cake was getting the bonus point.

"Friday's game is a huge game for us.

Sale boss Steve Diamond has made three changes - all up front - from the side that accounted for Gloucester last time out.

Prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts replaces Ross Harrison, while hooker Marc Jones starts instead of Tommy Taylor and lock Andrei Ostrikov takes over from Jonathan Mills.

Harrison, Taylor and Mills are all on bench duty, along with England prop Henry Thomas.

Sale: 15 Miller, 14 Brady, 13 Leota, 12 uitupou, 11 Cueto, 10 Cipriani, 9 Peel; 1 Lewis-Roberts, 2 Jones, 3 Cobilas, 4 Ostrikov, 5 Paterson, 6 Braid, 7 Seymour, 8 Gaskell.

Replacements: 16 Taylor, 17 Harrison, 18 Thomas, 19 Mills, 20 Easter, 21 Cliff, 22 Macleod, 23 Arscott.

Saracens: 15 Goode, 14 Ashton, 13 Taylor, 12 Barritt, 11 Strettle, 10 Hodgson, 9 Wigglesworth; 1 Vunipola, 2 George, 3 Stevens, 4 Borthwick, 5 Kruis, 6 Brown, 7 Burger, 8 Wray.

Replacements: 16 Brits, 17 Barrington, 18 Johnston, 19 Botha, 20 Joubert, 21 De Kock, 22 Tomkins, 23 Wyles.

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
Aviva Premiership
Friday 26th December
Aviva Premiership
15:00London Irish vs London Welsh
Saturday 27th December
14:00Bath vs Exeter
14:00Sale Sharks vs Leicester Tigers
15:00Newcastle Falcons vs Saracens
16:30Harlequins vs Northampton
Sunday 28th December
14:30Gloucester vs Wasps
Friday 2nd January
19:45Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons
Saturday 3rd January
14:00Saracens vs London Irish
16:30Exeter vs Gloucester
Sunday 4th January
14:00Wasps vs Sale
14:00Leicester Tigers vs Bath
14:30London Welsh vs Harlequins
Friday 9th January
19:45Gloucester vs Saracens
Saturday 10th January
14:00Sale vs Northampton
15:00Bath vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers
Sunday 11th January
14:00Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh
15:00London Irish vs Exeter
Saturday 14th February
15:00Leicester vs Gloucester
15:00Northampton vs London Irish
15:00Exeter vs Newcastle
Sunday 15th February
14:00Wasps vs Harlequins
14:30London Welsh vs Sale
15:00Saracens vs Bath
Friday 20th February
20:00Newcastle vs Wasps

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Phil Edwards

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