rugby union: Long-time leaders Harlequins are Sale’s opponents as the Sharks say farewell to Edgeley Park – but the main talking point looks like being the Sale starting XV.
They show eight changes from the side that won at Gloucester last time out, and Premiership Rugby could opt to assess the line-up closely as it appears to be some way short of full strength.
Fly-half Tommy Bell and flanker Will Bordill make their senior debuts, while the bench includes the likes of Tommy Taylor, Ross Harrison, Billy Emerson and Jordan Davies.
“There is plenty to play for on Saturday,” said Sale chief executive Steve Diamond. “We will have a youthful team to try to combat the way that Harlequins play.”
Victory for Leicester against Welford Road visitors Bath would confirm a home play-off – Quins will do likewise if they beat Sale – while Saracens are also through and Northampton need victory over Franklin’s Gardens visitors Worcester to guarantee they progress in fourth.
“The job is only half-done,” said Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder.
“We put in a good performance against Exeter two weeks ago, and the win put us back into fourth spot ahead of the last round of the regular season.
“However, we can still be caught, and we do not want our place in the play-offs to be in other teams’ hands. Only a win over Worcester will guarantee our place in the knockout stages.”
London Irish and Gloucester – two clubs with no chance of Heineken Cup qualification – meet at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow, where Irish will bid new England coaching recruit Mike Catt farewell, while there is also speculation they are about to sign Ulster’s former Leicester fly-half Ian Humphreys.