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Northampton v Sale - Teams
At Franklin's Gardens, Saturday March 14, KO: 3pm
We are going into this game on the back of two defeats and we need to get something from the game to keep up our top four challenge.
Quotes of the week
Sale Sharks have named Scotland international Rory Lamont at full-back for their Guinness Premiership trip to Northampton on Saturday.
Lamont had been expected to miss four months when he damaged ankle ligaments in early December but is returning ahead of schedule.
Winger Selrom Kuadey and scrum-half Chris Leck have also been given an opportunity to impress for the visitors at Franklin's Gardens.
"Northampton have a very good home record and like to attack, so we will need to be ready for them," Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones said.
"We are going into this game on the back of two defeats and we need to get something from the game to keep up our top four challenge.
"This season is probably the most competitive ever in the Premiership and there is plenty of rugby to be played as eight teams are chasing the top four spots."
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder, meanwhile, is full of respect for Sale, the club he played and coached at for many years.
The Saints are currently fourth in the league table and appear well set for a play-off spot.
"Sale have been one of the Premiership's form teams for a number of years," Mallinder said.
"Their defence in particular has been outstanding throughout the season and we will need to control the ball and impose ourselves if we are to break it down.
"But Sale are also a threat with ball in hand and Charlie Hodgson in particular is having an outstanding campaign.
"But we are coming into the game with a lot of confidence. We played well last week and know that we can perform in tough situations.
"We created chances and took them and our defence remained solid under a great deal of pressure. We will need to repeat this tomorrow if we are to get a good result.
"It is nice to have players performing and giving the coaches some difficult selection decisions. We are without some international players, but the guys who are coming in have all worked hard in training and are eager to show what they can do.
"I played and coached at Sale for many years but there will not be any sentimentality tomorrow.
"My focus is solely on the Saints' successes, both hopefully tomorrow and in the future."
Northampton Saints: 15 B Foden, 14 P Diggin, 13 J Ansbro, 12 J Downey, 11 B Reihana (capt), 10 B Everitt, 9 L Dickson; 1 S Tonga'uiha, 2 B Sharman, 3 B Stewart, 4 I Fernandez Lobbe, 5 J Kruger, 6 C Lawes, 7 N Best, 8 R Wilson
Replacements: 16 J Gray, 17 T Smith, 18 A Rae, 19 M Hopley, 20 S Myler, 21 C Mayor, 22 S Lamont
Sale Sharks: 15 R Lamont, 14 S Kuadey, 13 R Keil, 12 C Bell, 11 D Doherty, 10 C Hodgson, 9 C Leck; 1 R O'Donnell, 2 N Briggs, 3 E Roberts, 4 D Schofield, 5 B Cockbain, 6 C Jones, 7 C Fearns, 8 JM Fernandez Lobbe
Replacements: 16 M Jones, 17 S Turner, 18 S Cox, 19 D Tait, 20 W Cliff, 21 L Thomas, 22 N Macleod
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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