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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 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|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 vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com