Team news for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership fixtures including Sale v Exeter, Worcester v Bath and Gloucester v Harlequins and Northampton London Irish.
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs (14:30)
Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond has made several changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with Exeter at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Despite their win over Leicester Tigers last weekend, Diamond has brought in Johnny Leota to replace Sam Tuitupou, at inside centre and Peter Stringer starts at scrum-half with Chris Cusiter moving to the bench.
Mark Easter replaces Josh Beaumont, who is away with England with Easter starting at number eight.
Meanwhile, with Six Nations call-ups again robbing Exeter boss Rob Baxter of the services of Jack Nowell (England), Michele Campagnaro (Italy) and Tomas Francis (Wales), he sticks with a virtually unchanged matchday squad for this game.
The only change to Exeter’s starting line-up that lost to Saracens last weekend sees Jonny Hill recalled to the second row alongside the experienced Geoff Parling.
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Mark Easter, 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 Magnus Lund, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Jonny Hill, 3 Moray Low, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Max Bodilly
Gloucester v Harlequins (15:00)
Gloucester makes just the one change to the starting line-up that won at Bath last Friday, flanker Matt Kvesic restored to the starting XV as the Cherry and Whites welcome Harlequins to Kingsholm.
Meanwhile, there are three changes to the Harlequins starting team which played Northampton Saints last week. Joe Gray starts at hooker, with Dave Ward named at openside flanker.
Nick Easter picked up a knock last weekend and is expected to return next week for the match against Sale Sharks.
In the one change to the backs, Tim Visser returns from an injury sustained in the corresponding fixture in December.
Gloucester: 15 Billy Burns, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Meakes, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 Steve McColl, 10 James Hook, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Rob Cook
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans (c), 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 James Horwill, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 James Chisholm, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Ben Botica, 21 Calum Waters, 22 Winston Stanley, 23 Tim Swiel
Northampton Saints v London Irish (15:00)
James Wilson comes into the starting line-up for the Saints on Saturday as they welcome London Irish to Franklin’s Gardens.
The Kiwi makes his first start of the 2015/16 season on the left wing, George Pisi taking his place among the replacements for the Premiership tie as the only personnel change to the match day 23 that won dramatically at Harlequins.
Meanwhile, London Irish have been forced into making one change from the side that played Worcester last weekend with Johnny Williams replacing Aseli Tikoirotuma in the centre as the Fijian missing through injury.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 James Wilson, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 George Pisi
London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Ciaran Hearn, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Luke Narraway, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Will Lloyd, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Halani Aulica, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Tom Smallbone, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Theo Brophy-Clews, 23 Dom Waldouck
Worcester Warriors v Bath Rugby (15:00)
Director of Rugby Dean Ryan has made five changes to his Warriors side ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bath at Sixways.
Carl Kirwan is set for his first Premiership appearance for the club in the back row alongside Phil Dowson and skipper GJ van Velze while Darren Barry comes into the second row to partner Donncha O’Callaghan.
Nick Schonert and Niall Annett are joined by Val Rapava Ruskin in the front row, as the prop is rewarded with a starting berth following his all-action showing off the bench against London Irish.
There are two changes to the backline with Tom Heathcote returning at fly-half and Andy Symons replacing Ryan Mills in the centre.
Meanwhile, Bath flanker Guy Mercer will make his 100th Club appearance this Saturday at Sixways.
Notably, Academy player Adam Hastings will make his senior debut for Bath – after a commanding performance for Scotland U20 last weekend – as Japan international Amanaki Mafi also makes his first outing in the Blue, Black and White against Worcester Warriors.