Sale drop Cipriani for Wasps clash
December 21, 2012
James Percival is back in the Worcester XV © Getty Images
The Aviva Premiership will be at the halfway mark when the final whistle blows this weekend and it all kicks off on Friday night with Worcester Warriors hosting London Welsh at Sixways.
The Warriors will come into the match off the back of two consecutive matches against Top 14 side Perpignan in the Amlin Challenge Cup and they will hope to bounce back from their previous match in the Premiership which saw them lose 22-19 to Harlequins. And the Warriors have made four changes with David Lemi, Chris Pennell and Josh Matavesi all back in the XV. Lock and skipper James Percival also gets the nod while Aleki Lutui is named on the bench.
And their opponents London Welsh have made a host of changes to the side that lost to Grenoble last weekend. Coach Lyn Jones has drafted in Gordon Ross, Frank Montanella, Sonny Parker and Kirill Kulemin for the clash. He has also named Rob Lewis at scrum-half who has recently re-signed for the club on loan from the Cardiff Blues.
On Saturday, the ESPN cameras take in Bath's clash with Saracens at the Recreation Ground. Bath have changed six for the match with Nick Abendanon returning at fullback and Horacio Agulla and Tom Biggs starting on the flanks. Kyle Eastmond starts at outside centre while Ben Williams takes the No.12 jersey. Paul James and Lee Mears both come back into the front row, packing down alongside David Wilson. Captain Stuart Hooper also returns to the starting line-up, partnering Dominic Day in the second row. There are also changes in the back-row. Simon Taylor shifts to No.8, with Francois Louw coming in on the blindside and Guy Mercer taking the openside.
Sarries have made three changes from the side that beat Munster. In the backs, Alex Goode and Brad Barritt are rested which sees Chris Wyles start at full back and Charlie Hodgson named at fly-half. Owen Farrell switches to inside centre. In the forwards, Mako Vunipola starts the match with Rhys Gill switching to the bench. Andy Saull also returns after missing last week with a hamstring injury.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Gloucester entertain the Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm. The Cherry and Whites have made three changes - Nick Wood and Shaun Knight come in at loose head and tight head respectively, while Ben Morgan returns at number eight. Tom Savage moves from blindside into the second row, with Sione Kalamafoni shifting across the back row from number eight to wear the number six shirt. Exeter make four changes with three coming in the backs where Luke Arscott, Jason Shoemark and Matt Jess all return, whilst up front the solitary difference in the pack sees Richard Baxter come in for the injured Tom Johnson at No.8.
And London Irish are also in action and they will hope to secure their third win of the season against the Leicester Tigers at the Madejski Stadium. Marland Yarde has recovered from injury and starts while Ian Humphreys gets the nod at fly-half and Jebb Sinclair joins Declan Danaher and Chris Hala'ufia in the back row. The Tigers have recalled Toby Flood and he gets the nod at fly-half. Geordan Murphy also starts and he will be making his 200th Premiership appearance for the Tigers. Graham Kitchener comes into the second row for Tigers, and Jordan Crane takes the No8 shirt with Thomas Waldrom ruled out by a calf injury.
Northampton also play on Saturday and they host table-toppers Harlequins at Franklin's Gardens. The Saints have made one change for the match with Courtney Lawes starting in the second-row instead of Calum Clark. Harlequins have made six alterations. Among the backs, Ugo Monye moves to the left wing, with Tom Williams starting on the right. In the forwards, Joe Marler and James Johnston return to start in the front row alongside Joe Gray at hooker. Olly Kohn partners George Robson in the second row, while Maurie Fa'asavalu is named in the back-row.
On Sunday, ESPN takes in London Wasps' match with Sale at Adams Park. Sale have endured a torrid season with just one win to their name in the league and they will hope to improve on their last run out which saw them lose 62-0 to Toulon on Sunday. And the headline team news from Sale's point of view is the dropping of Danny Cipriani. He is not named in the 23-man squad with Nick Macleod getting the nod at No.10. Their XV shows four changes with Sam Tuitupou getting the nod at inside centre while Marc Jones and Kearnan Myall also start.
Wasps have made six changes Hugo Southwell returns to captain the side from fullback while Elliot Daly shifts to the wing to cover the injured Tom Varndell. Up front Zak Taulafo moves across to loose-head with Phil Swainston returning on the other side of the scrum, while T Rhys Thomas gets the nod at hooker. Newly capped England international Joe Launchbury returns to partner Marco Wentzel in the second-row, while Ashley Johnson is also back in, packing down at blindside.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship
When the Great War broke out, rugby in Australia and New Zealand initially soldiered on. Rewind looks back