Sale v Gloucester preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
Sale have brought in flanker Cameron Neild as they aim to go the entire Premiership season unbeaten at home
TJ Ioane moves to number eight, while Danny Cipriani, Tommy Taylor and Vadim Cobilas make their final appearances at the AJ Bell before leaving
Gloucester’s Sione Kalamafoni plays his 100th competitive club game
Sale have made one change to their side that will face Gloucester at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday, with Cameron Neild included on the flank.
Neild’s inclusion means Mark Easter moves to the bench and TJ Ioane switches to number eight.
Elsewhere, Mark Jennings comes onto the bench to replace Tom Brady.
Meanwhile, Sione Kalamafoni will make his 100th competitive appearance for Gloucester as he starts at number eight.
The Tongan international back-row is in his fourth season at Kingsholm having signed from Nottingham in the summer of 2012, and becomes the club’s latest centurion. He will pack down in an all international back-row alongside Ross Moriarty and Matt Kvesic.
There is one other change to the pack that started the 16-9 victory over Exeter Chiefs last time out, Paul Doran-Jones coming in for John Afoa, with the All Black named amongst the replacements.
There is also one new face in the back line, as scrum-half Willi Heinz returns. Greig Laidlaw will skipper the side from the fly-half position with James Hook ruled out due to a back niggle.
Sale Sharks – the only side in the competition with an unbeaten home record this season – must win this game to stay in contention for a top four spot, at least until the results of Saturday’s games are known
Gloucester must also win to keep themselves in contention for a Champions Cup spot in 2016/17. Their victory at home to Exeter Chiefs in Round 20 ended a four match losing run in Premiership rugby
The Cherry and Whites have won just once away from home in the tournament since Round 1 – in Round 11 at Bath.
Gloucester’s most recent victory on Sale soil in Premiership Rugby was at Heywood Road in September 2001.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sale Sharks: Will Addison
Gloucester: Ollie Thorley
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Rob Cook, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Nick Wood, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Lewis Ludlow
Date: Friday, April 29
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Simon McConnell
TMO: Stuart Terheege