Leicester v Sale preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
Leicester host Sale in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday: 15:00 kick-off
Discarded England hooker Tom Youngs returns from a one-game suspension to captain Tigers
The Sharks bring in props Ross Harrison and Vadim Cobilas, with Chris Cusiter replacing Peter Stringer at scrum-half
Ed Slater and Leonardo Ghiraldini return to the Leicester Tigers squad for Saturday’s home game against Sale Sharks in Round 11 of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season.
Club captain Slater and international hooker Ghiraldini are both included among the replacements on their recovery from injury. Slater returns for the first time since the New Year fixture at Saracens, while Ghiraldini is in line for only a second appearance since the Rugby World Cup after a hamstring problem.
Tom Youngs returns from a one-game ban to lead the team at hooker and Logovi’i Mulipola starts at loosehead.
Jordan Crane comes in at number eight, with Lachlan McCaffrey moving to openside in the only other change to the team that started at Gloucester last weekend.
Meanwhile, Sale, who are unbeaten in 2016, have named the same 23 that defeated London Irish but made three changes to his starting XV.
Ross Harrison, Vadim Cobilas and Cameron Neild come into the side, with Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Brian Mujati and David Seymour moving to the bench.
Leicester Tigers are one of only three teams with a 100 percent home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season – the others being Saracens and Exeter Chiefs
Tigers’ only loss in the last six rounds in the tournament was on a trip to Saracens on 2nd January
Sale Sharks only defeat in their last seven matches in all tournaments was 17-33 at Exeter in Aviva Premiership Rugby on Boxing Day, however the Sharks have lost their last eight away games in the tournament since they overturned London Welsh 52-12 in Oxford on 15th February 2015
Tigers have won their last dozen contests in major competitions against Sale since Sharks 15-12 victory at Edgeley Park in Premiership Rugby in September 2009
Sharks have been triumphant at Welford Road just once since 2003: 14-11 in Premiership Rugby in February 2008
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leicester: Tommy Bell
Sale: Sam James
Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Logovi’i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Gonzalo Camacho, 23 Jack Roberts.
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 TJ Ioane, 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 David Seymour, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott.
Date: Saturday, February 6
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Ross Campbell, Paul Burton
TMO: Trevor Fisher