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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
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 3rd October
Aviva Premiership
19:45Bath vs Saracens
Saturday 4th October
15:00Harlequins vs London Welsh
15:00London Irish vs Northampton
15:15Gloucester vs Leicester
Sunday 5th October
14:00Sale Sharks vs Wasps
15:00Newcastle vs Exeter
Friday 10th October
19:45Leicester vs Harlequins
Saturday 11th October
14:30London Welsh vs Newcastle
15:00Saracens vs Gloucester
15:00Exeter vs London Irish
15:15Northampton vs Sale Sharks
Sunday 12th October
14:00Wasps vs Bath
Friday 14th November
19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
19:45Northampton vs Exeter
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
17:00Bath vs Newcastle
Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
15:00Exeter vs Wasps
Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins

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Phil Edwards

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