Sunday’s Aviva Premiership Team News
There are three games due to take place in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday and they all have huge implications on the top and bottom of the table.
Sale Sharks (8th, 38pts) v Leicester Tigers (4th, 49pts)
Sale flanker David Seymour will captain the side in his 199th Premiership appearance, against Leicester at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday.
The hosts welcome back Will Addison, Tommy Taylor, Sammy Tuitupou, Vadim Cobilas, Bryn Evans and Eifion Lewis Roberts following last week’s defeat at Wasps.
Centre Johnny Leota is unavailable for the game as he is serving a two-match ban following his red card at the Ricoh Arena.
Leicester Tigers’ only defeat in their last four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 36-24 to Wasps in Coventry in round 16.
However, the Tigers have won just once away from home in 2016: 19-18 at Gloucester at the end of January.
England Grand Slam trio Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi return to the Leicester Tigers team for the Round 18 match.
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Mathew Tait, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Tom Croft, 6 Laurence Pearce, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Opeti Fonua, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Peter Betham, 23 Telusa Veainu
Newcastle Falcons (11th, 22pts) v Wasps (3rd, 53pts)
Andy Goode is set to make his final appearance for Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday, having been named on the bench for the Aviva Premiership visit of Wasps.
The 35-year-old former England fly-half is the second-highest points scorer in Premiership history, his three-month deal with the Falcons reaching a conclusion after coming out of retirement around the turn of the year.
The Falcons’ 15-14 defeat at the hands of Worcester Warriors in their most recent home game ended a four-game winning run at Kingston Park.
But with bottom club London Irish beating Gloucester Rugby last weekend, the pressure is now on the Falcons to start winning if they are to retain their Premiership status.
Joe Launchbury and Elliot Daly return to Wasps’ starting line-up, alongside Matt Mullan, who skippers the side.
George Smith returns to the back row to join Sam Jones and Thomas Young, with Nathan Hughes ready to provide reinforcement from the bench.
In the backline, Josh Bassett comes in on the left wing, while Elliot Daly and Siale Piutau form the centre partnership. Charles Piutau misses out through a hamstring injury.
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Taione Vea, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Ally Hogg, 20 Sinoti Sinoti, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Belisario Agulla
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 George Smith, 6 Thomas Young, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan (c)
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Cannon, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Craig Hampson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Brendan Macken
Northampton Saints (5th 46pts) v Harlequins (6th 44pts)
Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea has made four changes to his starting XV forSaturday’s clash with Northampton at the Stoop.
Matt Hopper starts at outside-centre in the only change to the back-line. Among the forwards, Kyle Sinckler and George Merrick will start as Nick Easter returns at number eight.
Quins have lost their last four away games in the tournament since beating Worcester Warriors 24-20 at Sixways in round 8, while the Saints have won their last six fixtures against Harlequins in all tournaments.
Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has made six changes to his run-on side from last weekend. Ben Foden returns at full-back, and Ken Pisi also comes into the back three.
That means Harry Mallinder wears 12, Luther Burrell stepping outside him in the centres, while Lee Dickson is back to captain the side.
In the pack, a new second row comprises James Craig and Christian Day, and Jamie Gibson re-joins the back row at the Stoop.